While lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer deaths in the United States, it is important to understand that lung cancer can be treated successfully when found early.
There are often no symptoms associated with lung cancer, and this makes it very difficult for people to realize that something is wrong. Most often, early stage lung cancer can be best detected through lung screenings.
Lung screenings are ordered by physicians and are recommended for those ages 55 to 80 who have a history of 30-pack year smoking. Candidates must be smokers or former smokers who quit within the past 15 years and who do not exhibit lung cancer symptoms.
Early lung cancer can also be detected through “incidental findings,” meaning that a suspicious lesion was detected by a radiologist during the reading of a diagnostic test, such as a CT scan, that a patient was having for some other medical issue. It is critically important that lesions, regardless of how they are detected, are followed up on as recommended.
Dr. Justin Goralnik, a Middlesex Health pulmonologist, was recently appointed the Total Lung Care Center’s first-ever medical director. The Total Lung Care Center, a program within the Middlesex Health Cancer Center, works with primary care physicians; radiologists and nurse navigators to coordinate an expedited care plan to assure that all lesions are promptly addressed. The goal is to always get you an appointment with a Middlesex Health pulmonologist as soon as possible.
A timely diagnosis is very important because it allows lung cancer to be treated at an earlier stage. If your lesion is determined to be cancerous, you may need additional care and treatment. The Total Lung Care Center’s nurse navigator will guide and support you through all aspects of lung cancer care—from diagnosis to survivorship.
More on lung cancer screenings
Middlesex Health is designated as a Lung Cancer Screening Center of Excellence. This means that Middlesex is committed to responsible, high-quality screening practices, and it ensures that the low-dose CT scans used to screen for lung cancer are carried out safely, efficiently and equitably.
PET scans can be an uncomfortable, or even painful, part of cancer treatment. Middlesex Health is using SubtlePET technology to make these imaging tests quicker—and therefore more comfortable—for patients.