HOUSTON (May 15, 2014)

The Lung Cancer Screening Program at Memorial Hermann Southeast Hospital helps individuals who are at high risk for lung cancer receive a diagnosis and treatment plan at an early stage when the disease is more treatable and curable.

“After two decades of research and advocacy, the United States Preventive Services Task Force issued its final recommendation approving low-dose CT lung screenings for those at high risk of developing lung cancer,” said Oncology Nurse Navigator Krystie Fenton, B.S.N. at Memorial Hermann Southeast. “This recommendation sets the stage for both public and private insurance coverage of lung cancer screening and is expected to save tens of thousands of lives.”

Lung cancer typically does not cause symptoms in its early stages. The cancer is often advanced when symptoms do occur. Symptoms such as persistent cough, coughing up blood, wheezing or shortness of breath, recurrent pneumonia or bronchitis, chest pain, hoarseness, weight loss and loss of appetite, bloody or rust-colored spit or phlegm, and fever without a known cause may also be signs of many other lung problems.

Up to 90 percent of all lung cancers are thought to result from smoking. In addition to cigarette smoking, daily cigar smoking greatly increases risk. Non-smokers who are frequently exposed to secondhand smoke also face an increased risk. Other risk factors include: exposure to asbestos, radon, or ionizing radiation; lung scarring from chronic infections; and, family history of lung cancer.

“The most significant risk factor for lung cancer is smoking. Even if you have smoked for decades, stopping now can reduce your risk of developing lung cancer,” said Fenton. “As with other types of cancer, early detection increases a patient’s chance of survival.”

Unfortunately, lung cancer is difficult to detect in its earliest stages and often is not discovered until it has spread to other tissues or organs. The Lung Cancer Screening Program at Memorial Hermann Southeast strives to detect lung nodules and potential lung cancer early, allowing for a greater chance of being treated and cured.

Screenings at Memorial Hermann Southeast are offered to current or former smokers 55 years of age or older who have smoked the equivalent of one pack of cigarettes a day, and individuals with exposures or family history that increases their risk.

Memorial Hermann Southeast, which is accredited by the American College of Surgeons Commission on Cancer, offers such leading-edge technology as i·Logic™ Electromagnetic Navigation Bronchoscopy®, Positron Emission Tomography/Computed Tomography, Intensity Modulation Radiation Therapy, Image-Guided Radiation Therapy, Contura™ Multi-Lumen Balloon Brachytherapy, MammoSite®, Syed Template, Prostate Seed Therapy, High-Dose Radiation (HDR) Brachytherapy, External-Beam Radiation Therapy, Triple-Energy Linear Accelerator, and Computed Tomography Simulator.

Individuals who are interested in a lung screening may call Memorial Hermann Southeast, 281-929-4200 or visit our website.