Improving Lung Cancer Outcomes

Stamford Health offers a Lung Cancer Screening Program promoting early disease detection in high risk patients using low radiation dose spiral CT scanning. The goal of our program is to discover lung cancer at its earliest, and therefore most curable, stages. We are certified by the American College of Radiology and the Lung Cancer Alliance.

Approach

A multidisciplinary team approach ensures patients have access to the right expertise and the most efficient care possible. We are the state-of-the-art program in our region, offering multidisciplinary oversight, close communication with primary care physicians, a dedicated computer database, available real-time resulting, and a dovetailed smoking cessation program. 

Lung Cancer Facts:

Lung cancer remains the leading cause of cancer death in the United States, surpassing colorectal, breast, and pancreatic cancers combined. Unfortunately, only 15% of lung cancers are discovered at an early stage where curative therapy is feasible. According to the American Cancer Society, an estimated 221, 200 new cases of lung cancer are expected in 2015, with an estimated 158,040 deaths. One in 13 men and one in 16 women will develop lung cancer in his or her lifetime. Cigarette smoking is the most important risk factor.

Signs and Symptoms:

Symptoms do not usually occur until the cancer is advanced, and may include persistent cough, sputum streaked with blood, chest pain, hoarseness, worsening shortness of breath, and recurrent pneumonia or bronchitis.

Risk Factors:

  • Smoking (cigarette, cigar, pipe, secondhand smoke)
  • Exposure to radon gas released from soil and building materials
  • Occupational exposure to materials such as asbestos, arsenic, diesel exhaust, silica, and chromium.
  • History of radiation therapy to the chest

Results

Lung Cancer Screening Program Outcomes:

The Stamford Health Lung Cancer Screening Program began in November 2012. Through this program, eligible patients receive an annual low dose CT (LDCT) of the chest. Screening with LDCT has been shown to save lives by finding lung cancer early, when it is easier to treat.

Patients Enrolled in our Program:

Only individuals who are at high risk of developing lung cancer are eligible for lung cancer screening. We follow the Center for Medicare and Medicaid services inclusion criteria.
Patients must meet all of the following criteria to be eligible for lung cancer screening:

  • Age 55-77
  • Current cigarette smokers or those having quit within the past 15 years
  • At least 30+ pack-year history of smoking (pack-year equals packs per day multiplied by number of years smoking)
  • Asymptomatic (no active signs or symptoms of lung cancer)

From November 2012 to December 2015 we have completed 552 lung screenings and detected 11 lung cancers. Seven of these patients were diagnosed with Stage I lung cancer and 4 with Stage III lung cancer. These eleven patients have all been or are currently being treated with curative intent.

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  • 281 patients received a lung cancer screening CT scan in 2015
  • 6 patients enrolled in the program were diagnosed with lung cancer in 2015

Read more about our lung cancer screening program.

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