Each year, more people die of lung cancer than of colon, breast and prostate cancers combined, according to the American Cancer Society. But a CT lung cancer screening may help change that reality.
At Corewell Health’s Beaumont Hospital Lung Nodule Clinics in Trenton and Wayne, experts provide early diagnosis and expedited care for pulmonary nodules, which are small masses found in the lungs.
"The whole idea of the lung nodule clinic is to diagnose lung cancer as soon as possible so that treatment can get started as soon as possible," said Dr. Mohamad Hazem Raslan, a pulmonologist at Corewell Health’s Beaumont Hospital Lung Nodule Clinics in Trenton and Wayne. "If you treat the cancer early enough to surgically remove the lesion, it could potentially cure the patient of the disease."
Determining whether a lung nodule is benign or malignant is an important first step in achieving the best possible outcome. Prompt diagnosis and treatment of lung cancer, which can initially present as a lung nodule, may be the best chance for curing cancer.
"We keep a close eye on the nodules. Ninety percent of them are benign, but the other 10% could change the course of a patient’s life," Dr. Raslan said. "Our job is to identify them and work on them as soon as possible."
In 2022, about 530 patients were screened for lung nodules – 193 patients at Corewell Health's Beaumont Hospital, Wayne, and 337 patients at Corewell Health's Beaumont Hospital, Trenton.
“Of those patients, 44 were diagnosed with lung cancer,” added Dr. Abdulrazak Alchakaki, a pulmonologist at the Lung Nodule Clinics. “And 70% of those patients were in the early stages of lung cancer (stages 1, 2 or 3A), which means they were potential surgical candidates as opposed to the national average of 20%, so this is the difference we are very proud of.”
Already in 2023, Corewell Health’s Trenton and Wayne clinics have diagnosed 29 individuals with lung cancer. Nineteen of them were in the early stages, making them potential candidates for surgery.
Spread the word: early detection can save lives
According to the American Lung Association’s 2022 “State of Lung Cancer” report, only about 5.8% of eligible Americans have been screened for lung cancer.
Dr. Raslan said awareness is key when it comes to getting eligible individuals in the door for a lung cancer screening.
“Why are we better than the national average? We’re able to screen more people by increasing awareness in the community and with the primary care physicians about the importance of early screenings,” he said.
Tabitha Brogley, nurse navigator at the Lung Nodule Clinic, added, “Another nurse navigator, Leslie Stromberger, and I research primary care physicians (PCPs) in the area and make appointments with them to teach them about the clinic and what we do, stressing the importance of these screenings for their eligible patients. These meetings give us a chance to develop relationships with the physicians and increases our chances to catch and treat these lung cancer cases earlier on.”
To be eligible for a low-dose CT lung cancer screening, an individual must have a prescription from their doctor and meet all the following criteria:
- Age 50 to 80 with no signs or symptoms of lung cancer
- Cigarette smoking history of at least 20 pack years (one pack year = smoking one pack, or 20 cigarettes, per day for one year)
- Current cigarette smoker or has quit smoking within the last 15 years
Learn more about Corewell Health’s lung nodule clinics and how to schedule an appointment.