Lung cancer will be responsible for 27 percent of all of cancer-related deaths this year, according to the American Cancer Society. This shocking statistic makes lung cancer the most lethal cancer – even above breast and colon cancers. Because lung cancer is rarely diagnosed early, survival has traditionally been poor. When lung cancers are diagnosed early, the chance for cure increases dramatically.
Until recently, routine screening for lung cancer was not recommended. Now, high-risk individuals are recommended to be screened by a simple imaging test called low-dose computerized tomography (CT). A low-dose CT study takes pictures of the screening participant’s lungs, looking for abnormalities. By employing this groundbreaking advance in cancer detection, the Memorial Hermann Southwest Hospital Lung Cancer Screening Program combats lethal statistics with early diagnosis of cancer, leading to early treatment and a higher possibility of cure.
If abnormalities are found during screening, participants have access to individualized and highly specialized coordinated care provided by the multidisciplinary Lung Program team conveniently located on the Memorial Hermann Southwest Campus. The team is comprised of experts from pulmonology, diagnostic radiology, pathology, surgery and oncology.
A hallmark of Memorial Hermann Southwest’s Lung Cancer Screening Program is the dedicated lung nurse navigator, Deidra Teoh, M.S.N., R.N., O.C.N. Teoh works closely with the team of affiliated physicians to assist in coordinating screenings and follow-up procedures in an expedient manner while addressing needs for the whole person, including healthcare coordination, social, emotional and spiritual needs. “Screening can be scary, but I’m there to be a friendly face and a hand to hold that can help to alleviate the stress of health-related procedures,” says Teoh.
“It is well established that symptoms of lung cancer are often indicators of advanced disease, which can be more difficult to treat,” says Georges Youssef, M.D., a Memorial Hermann Southwest-affiliated pulmonologist spearheading the screening and early diagnosis effort. “With advanced screening techniques, we can detect lung cancer earlier before symptoms even occur, when treatment can have the greatest impact and patients can experience a higher rate of cure.”