All cancers are terrible, but lung cancer may be he most insidious. In fact, lung cancer kills more people than the top three cancers—colon, breast, and pancreatic cancer—combined.
“Lung cancer does not cause symptoms until its late stages,” says thoracic surgeon Cynthia Chin, MD, of White Plains Hospital. “Most lung cancers are found when they are inoperable.”
That’s why Chin, along with fellow White Plains Hospital thoracic surgeon Todd Weiser, MD, launched a clinical trial at the hospital that offers free lung cancer screenings for early detection. When it’s caught earlier, “the patient has a better chance of being cured,” Chin says.
Participants in the trial get a CT scan (which does come with a low dose of radiation, though the hospital tries to minimize the exposure). This allows doctors to see if there are tumors, which may be present even if there are no other symptoms.
Already, the trial has saved lives. In a press release, the hospital notes that White Plains resident Robert Linscott, 61, volunteered for the trial even though he felt fine and presented no cancer symptoms. The CT scan revealed a walnut-sized tumor in his right lung. Chin and Weiser—along with Scott Berman, M.D, the hospital’s director of thoracic surgery—performed a minimally invasive surgery. Today, Linscott is cancer-free, which may not have been the case if he had waited until the tumor presented symptoms.
The clinical trial is open to anyone between ages 50 and 75 who have smoked 20 “pack years”—equivalent to one pack a day for 20 years or half a pack a day for 40 years—and who are current smokers or quit in last 20 years. The scan is free if the criteria are met, and participants don’t need a doctor’s referral.
Click here for more information about White Plains Hospital’s lung cancer screening program.