Lung Cancer Screening & Prevention
Screening for Lung Cancer
Many individuals have a family history of lung disease, or have been exposed to substances such as smoke, asbestos, or even dust from the World Trade Center. It is important that they receive screening for lung diseases, and after initial screening, that any abnormalities are followed up appropriately. Lung cancer screening with computed tomography (CT) helps to detect lung cancer at an early stage when it can be removed completely and cured.
Lung Tumor Screening
The challenge facing patients and their physicians lies in the fact that there is a good chance that a nodule will be found in the lungs, especially in patients over 55 with a history of smoking. In most cases, the nodules are eventually determined to be harmless but many patients will experience weeks or months of anxiety until a diagnosis is established. In addition, differences in the ways that physicians manage the care of patients with nodules can make the follow-up process very challenging for both patients and their physicians.
On the other hand, it is not uncommon for a patient to have a CT scan for another reason that detects a lung tumor incidentally. Because some tumors do spread and become deadly, assessment and monitoring of any suspicious lesion is critical. Abnormalities must be monitored diligently so that lesions requiring intervention can be treated earlier rather than later. The High-Risk Lung Assessment Program at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/Columbia University Medical Center has established a highly refined process to do this in a very efficient manner.
Read about Research on CT Lung Screening here
Learn about Genetics and Risk Factors for Lung Disease here
We recommend CT screening for people who have a high risk of lung cancer based on family history, health, and smoking history. For those with a moderate risk, thorough discussion of the potential results of a scan and follow-up options is essential before deciding upon screening.
The Lung Cancer Screening Program is directed by William Bulman, MD, in the Division of Pulmonary, Allergy, and Critical Care Medicine. Learn about this program at http://www.cumc.columbia.edu/pulmonary/clinical-centers/lung-cancer-screening-program.