News & Media

Lung Cancer Services Expand with Newly Developed Screening Program

Media Contact Joe Poelker
314-525-4005
Release Date: 01/26/2016 By St. Anthony's Medical Center

St. Anthony’s Cancer Care Center is expanding the care it provides for the treatment of lung cancer with the addition of a newly developed, low-dose Computed Tomography (CT) screening program for lung cancer and the addition of a lung cancer nurse navigator.

The low-dose, spiral CT scan is a fast, painless and non-invasive screening that is recommended for patients at high risk for lung cancer. It can detect cancers much smaller than those previously viewable by X-ray. The scan was recently approved by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) and adopted by Medicare and private insurance programs.

Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer death in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Currently, without screening, the initial diagnosis for three out of four people with lung cancer will show incurable or metastatic disease.

“Screening for lung cancer in high-risk populations will identify lung cancer at an earlier and more treatable stage and improve survival,” said Mary Graham, M.D., Medical Director of Radiation Oncology and Chairman of St. Anthony’s Cancer Committee.

The newly developed, low-dose CT scan may produce results other than a lung cancer diagnosis, including non-cancerous conditions that would require further evaluation. The newly hired lung cancer nurse navigator guides and assists patients through their lung cancer screening and appropriate follow-up, whether cancer or another condition is detected.

“My main goal is to provide a program to detect lung cancer early and to improve outcomes, by following patients through the course of their treatment and getting them to the proper screenings and care,” said nurse practitioner Pamela Lynn, Lung Cancer Nurse Navigator. 

“We have a coordinated, multidisciplinary group that works together to deliver quality care for patients,” Dr. Graham said. “Cancer care has become increasingly complex – there isn’t a single person who can run the show. It really requires a village approach.”

St. Anthony’s Cancer Care Center ranks among the largest providers for the treatment of lung cancer in the St. Louis metropolitan area. Expert physicians, surgeons, oncologists, nurses, techs and other staff collaborate to develop and oversee a personalized treatment plan for every patient.