Whether someone is a a patient recently diagnosed with lung cancer looking for treatment, a heavy smoker in need of screening, or someone diagnosed with a pulmonary nodule, care and treatment are available at Hopkins. The clinics offered through the Johns Hopkins Lung Cancer program can help, providing patients with the support and expertise they need.
A nurse practitioner helps everyone who calls to navigate through the lung cancer program, getting patients into the right door and doing it efficiently so that care is quick. As a patient navigator, the nurse practitioner provides support and direction to patients throughout their care at Johns Hopkins.
No one wants to hear that they have lung cancer. But if that is the diagnosis, then getting immediate, expert, coordinated treatment is key to the best possible prognosis.
Whether a patient has been recently diagnosed and/or is seeking a second opinion, the Lung Cancer Multidisciplinary Clinic at Johns Hopkins offers access to a team of lung cancer experts who can review the diagnosis and create a lung treatment plan in one day. Typically, the process of diagnosing and developing a treatment plan can take weeks, maybe months, as the patient meets with each doctor separately and the doctors confer about treatment.
In the multidisciplinary clinic, patients meet with a nurse practitioner, a palliative care specialist, and a medical informaticist in the morning. In the afternoon, patients meet with the team of lung cancer medical specialists, leaving with a treatment plan and the peace of mind that comes from having and understanding their diagnosis and a plan for treatment at a medical center considered among the best in the country for treating cancer.
The day at the clinic includes:
- A lung cancer education session
- An opportunity to meet with a medical informaticist to learn about resources for lung cancer
- An opportunity to meet with palliative care specialists
- An medical evaluation with a resident or nurse practitioner
- Individual consultations with lung cancer experts, including a medical oncologist, radiation oncologist, interventional pulmonologist, thoracic surgeon, and radiologist, depending on the specifics of the patient’s health status and status of lung cancer
- A treatment plan meeting with everyone present to present the treatment recommendation.
Prior to the clinic, patients receive all the tests they need for an accurate diagnosis and to create a treatment plan.
The recent results of the National Lung Screening Trial, conducted by the National Cancer Institute, show that low-dose screening with helical CT scans, done annually for three years, decreases the number of deaths due to lung cancer by 20 percent. Those results offer people at risk for lung cancer a screening program that could very well save their lives.
Most lung cancers are not diagnosed until they are Stage 3 or 4, which is why lung cancer kills more people than breast cancer, prostate cancer, and colon cancer combined. If lung cancer could be found early, however, more people will survive.
In some cases, people are diagnosed with a pulmonary nodule. The nodule may eventually develop into lung cancer, grow larger, or never change. Because of the possibility that cancer could develop, people with nodules also should be regularly screened to catch any changes before they become life-threatening.
Early diagnosis means more effective treatment and a much more positive prognosis for survival both for people at high risk to develop lung cancer and those who have been diagnosed with a pulmonary nodule. That is why the Johns Hopkins Lung Cancer Program created a Lung Cancer Screening/Pulmonary Nodule Clinic.
To be screened, people who have not been diagnosed with a pulmonary nodule must be defined as high risk:
- Being between the ages of 55 and 74
- Having a significant smoking habit (30 pack/years. The formula is number of packs per day multiplied by the number of years smoked. For example, 1 pack per day times 30 years equals 30 pack/years; 2 packs per day times 15 years equals 30 pack/years.)
- Are currently smoking or have quit less than 15 years ago
Or they must:
- Be older than 50
- Have a 20 pack/years habit (The formula is number of packs per day multiplied by the number of years smoked. For example, 1 pack per day times 20 years equals 20 pack/years; 2 packs per day times 10 years equals 20 pack/years.)
- Have one additional risk factor (Risk factors include radon or occupational exposure, history of smoking–related cancer, family history of lung cancer, or history of COPD or pulmonary fibrosis.)
- Meeting with a nurse practitioner during the first visit to provide personal history and determine the patient’s risk of developing lung cancer
- Low-dose CT scans annually for three years
For patients with pulmonary nodules, the number of screenings per year will vary depending on the size of the nodule and the patient’s risk factors. The type of screening may also vary from low-dose CT scans to PET scan and biopsies, if necessary.
The clinic’s nurse practitioners review all cases with a team that includes a medical oncologist, a pulmonologist, a thoracic surgeon, and a radiologist who specializes in chest CT scans, and the patient and referring provider are notified of the team’s recommendations.
For an appointment and answers to your questions
As a leading treatment center for lung cancer, Johns Hopkins offers its patients personalized care, specialized treatment, and pioneering therapies to extend life.
To make an appointment for one of the clinics or if you have questions, call 410-955-LUNG (5864).