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Center for Cancer Care

St. Luke's Lung Cancer Screening Program

Program Nurse Navigator

The best policy is to not smoke.
But, if you do or have in the past and you're high-risk, this screening can save your life.

Why Choose St. Luke's Lung Cancer Screening Program
St. Luke's Lung Cancer Screening Program has been named a Center of Excellence by the Lung Cancer Alliance, the leading organization dedicated to saving lives and advancing research by empowering those living with and at risk for lung cancer.

Why Early Detection Is Important
According to the American Lung Association, lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer death for both men and women in the United States and the five-year survival rate for lung cancer patients is only 15 percent. Recent research has found that a low-dose computed tomography (CT) scan can detect lung cancer in high-risk individuals who do not have symptoms. Improved detection of lung cancer at earlier stages, when the lung cancer is much more easily treated, is the key to improved survival. Screening has been shown to reduce deaths from lung cancer by 20 percent and has also reduced overall death by 27 percent.

How the Screening Works
Unlike a chest x-ray which produces flat, two-dimensional images of the lungs, a non-invasive CT scan is able to produce a three-dimensional image of the lungs, giving a more detailed report about the volume and shape of lung abnormalities. These nodules, or masses of tissue, are actually quite common and are usually non-cancerous. By using the CT scan, our team will be able to detect the size and shape of any suspected lung nodules and their likelihood to be cancerous. This test is not a substitute for tobacco cessation programs.

Who Should Consider Having the Screening
Major, multicenter studies published in medical journals, including the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) and the New England Journal of Medicine, have validated lung cancer screenings for high-risk individuals. In addition, specialty physician and medical organizations (American College of Chest Physicians, American Society of Clinical Oncology, the National Comprehensive Cancer Network) are recommending this test for high-risk individuals as well.

High Risk Individuals

  • Current or former smokers 55 or older
  • A smoking history of at least 30 pack-years (meaning one pack a day for 30 years; 2 packs a day for 15 years; etc.)
  • If a former smoker, stopped within the last 15 years
  • No history of lung cancer

If you are in this group, you are at the highest risk for lung cancer and screening may be an option for you.

Patients may call the program nurse navigator at 314-205-6886 to schedule an appointment.

The Appointment Process
Although actual scan time is about ten to fifteen minutes, patients should allow one hour for their appointment.

Patients will receive a letter with the results of their screening exam. If the scan shows one or more nodules, they will be referred for further testing and consultation. A nurse navigator is available to assist in coordinating care between you and your doctors.

Medicare and most insurance plans cover lung cancer screening for patients who meet the criteria. Our staff can help you check your benefits and eligibility. For self-pay patients or if your benefits do not cover the screening, the price of the program is $150 for the screening and $50 for the reading of the scan.

Low-dose screening CT exams contain ionizing radiation which can, in theory, be harmful to the patient. The amount of radiation from a typical lung cancer screening test is less than one-third of the amount of radiation that the average U.S. citizen experiences in one year. Often, there are small "spots" (nodules) seen on a screening CT test that require CT follow-up. In most cases: 1) these do not represent lung cancer; 2) insurance and Medicare will cover the cost of these limited CT follow-up examinations.