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Johns Hopkins Bayview News - A Lung Cancer Screening Could Save Your Life

Winter 2014

A Lung Cancer Screening Could Save Your Life

By: Heidi Fosnaught
Date: February 3, 2014

Female physician looking at lung screening
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Lung cancer kills more Americans than breast cancer, prostate cancer and colon cancer combined—it will claim an estimated 200,000 lives this year. “Lung cancer is deadly for two reasons. It’s resistant to most therapies, and it’s typically diagnosed at a late stage,” says Phillip Dennis, M.D., director of thoracic oncology at Johns Hopkins Bayview’s Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center. “Screening people at high risk will increase the numbers who are diagnosed at a curable stage of the disease.”

The Johns Hopkins Lung Cancer Screening and Pulmonary Nodule Clinics provide screenings and a multidisciplinary approach to treatment. Screenings include a meeting with a nurse practitioner to determine the level of risk, and low-dose CT scans once a year for three years, which a 2011 clinical study shows can reduce the number of lung cancer deaths by 20 percent.

Patients are considered high risk for lung cancer if they:

  • Are over the age of 50.
  • Have a significant smoking habit (consisting of one pack per day for at least 20 years, or two packs per day for at least 10 years), or have quit within the last 15 years.
  • Have one additional risk factor (i.e. radon or occupational exposure, history of  smoking-related cancer, family history of lung cancer, or history of COPD or pulmonary fibrosis).

It is important to understand that everyone’s risk is individualized and can increase if you have a family member with lung or tobacco-related cancer.

To find out about your individualized risk or schedule an appointment, call 410-955-LUNG (5864).