Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer deaths in the United States, as well as a huge problem globally. The overall five-year survival rate with a lung cancer diagnosis is only 15 percent, however, if diagnosed in stage I, the five-year survival rate increases to 80 percent. Low dose CT screening is the only proven, research supported, method of detecting lung cancer at an early and treatable stage, which is why Cone Health has developed a lung cancer screening program for patients in the community.
Individuals who are eligible for the program must be between the ages of 55 to 77, smoke or quit smoking within the last 15 years, and have a 30 pack year history of smoking (one pack a day for 30 years or two packs a day for 15 years). The first time you meet with the nurse navigator will be for a shared decision making visit. The nurse navigator will discuss the risks and benefits of a low-dose CT lung cancer screening for you, information about how to quit smoking, or remain smoke free, if applicable, and your ability and willingness to commit to follow-up care after your scan. Then, you’ll work together to decide whether to schedule a screening.
The scan itself is quick, only takes about 10 minutes, and you can have your results in forty-eight hours or less. Screening centers are located in Greensboro, High Point, Kernersville, Reidsville and Burlington.
If you smoke, you should think of screenings as part of your yearly preventive health maintenance. Even if you have smoked all of your life, you still deserve to get the care you need to maintain your quality of life. Talk to your physician about the lung cancer screening program to see if it’s right for you. Cone Health Cancer Center takes a multidisciplinary approach to treating lung cancer by assembling their team of surgeons, radiologists, medical oncologists, pathologists, pharmacists, radiation oncologists and other related healthcare professionals to meet in a council each week to develop a treatment plan for each, individual lung cancer patient.
Smoking cessation plays an important role in a care management plan for lung cancer or lung disease. Cone Health provides free programs to help participants quit smoking.
On November 12, 2016 the Lung Cancer Initiative of North Carolina will be hosting the 9th annual Greensboro LUNGe Forward Run, Walk & Rally to raise support for those affected by lung cancer in North Carolina. To learn more, visit http://www.lungcancerinitiativenc.org/lunge-forward-5k-series.
Sarah Groce is an adult gerontology acute care nurse practitioner and Cone Health’s Lung Cancer Screening Nurse Navigator. She received her Bachelor of Science in nursing from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 1985. Sarah completed a Master of Science in nursing and adult gerontology acute care nurse practitioner from the University of South Carolina in 2015.