Lung cancer is the second most common type of cancer and the leading cause of cancer death in the U.S. However, lung cancer is also one of the most preventable cancers. The best way to prevent the disease is to quit smoking. Screening can also reduce the risk of dying from lung cancer.
The National Lung Cancer Screening Trial (NLST), run by The National Cancer Institute, compared two ways of detecting lung cancer - through 3 annual low-dose, helical CT scans and standard chest x-ray. The findings revealed that participants who received low-dose helical CT scans had a 20 percent lower risk of dying from lung cancer than participants who received standard chest X-rays.
Based on this study, physicians at Karmanos Cancer Center developed a new program called the Lung Cancer Screening Program centered around offering a yearly CT scan for three consecutive years for those who are at an increased risk of lung cancer.
If you have a patient who may be at an increased risk of developing lung cancer, or fits the demographics described below, you can refer them to our Lung Cancer Screening Program.
How Lung Cancer Screening Program works
Screening for lung cancer is a process, and cannot be completed with a single test. The data available show that individuals who do qualify for lung cancer screening should have a screening CT scan once a year for 3 years. Whether scans should be repeated beyond 3 years is not yet known.
- CT scans - Those who are eligible for the program (generally older adults who have at least a 30-pack-year smoking history) have annual low-dose CT scans over a three-year period. Karmanos performs scans at its Weisberg Center in Farmington Hills.
- Scan review - A Karmanos radiologist will review the patient’s CT scans for abnormalities and track any yearly changes. We will send the patient’s primary health care provider copies of the results.
- Follow-up care - The radiologist may recommend follow up with either a Karmanos Cancer Center specialist or primary health care provider for further tests.
Who should be screened?
- Men and women aged 55-80.
- Current smokers or former smokers, who quit no more than 15 years ago, with at least 30-pack-year smoking history.
- The NLST found that smokers in this age group are most likely to benefit from screening.
Is this covered by insurance?
- Currently no Michigan insurance companies cover the cost of lung cancer screening CT scans.
- As a result of a generous donation from the Gianni Ferrarotti Lung Cancer Foundation, your out-of-pocket cost for the initial CT scan is only $100.
- If the initial CT shows no abnormality, subsequent scans will also cost $100.
- If an abnormality is found, future scans and further workup should be covered by insurance.
Why should I refer my patient to the Karmanos Cancer Center Lung Cancer Screening Program?
The Karmanos Cancer Center is a National Cancer Institute-designated Comprehensive Cancer Center. Karmanos is the only hospital in Michigan dedicated exclusively to fighting cancer. The Thoracic Oncology Multidisciplinary Team at the Karmanos Cancer Center participating in this program includes surgeons, medical oncologists, pulmonologists, radiation oncologists, radiologists, pathologists, and research coordinators. The experts on this team focus primarily on the diagnosis and treatment of lung cancer and therefore have a level of expertise that other centers may not have. In addition, lung cancer screening may indicate further follow up that requires this level of expertise.
How to refer your patient
- Simply send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org, or call us at 855-527-LUNG (855-527-5864), with your name and contact information, as well as your patients name and contact information, and a member of our staff will contact you or your patient, depending on your preference, regarding program eligibility.
- Or, you can direct your patient to our website, karmanos.org/LungCancerScreening, where they can read more about the program and fill out a participation form.
Is there an alternative option?
If you believe your patient would benefit from screening, but cannot commit financially to the screening program, or is not eligible for the screening program, consider referring them to our INHALE Study, conducted by Karmanos Cancer Center and Wayne State University, and sponsored by the National Institutes of Health. If they are eligible for INHALE, the study covers the cost of one CT scan. Call 1-866-828-2339 for more information.
Quitting Smoking Resources
Karmanos offers recommended resources for healthcare professionals to review to help encourage patients to quit. Click here to access these resources.
For more Information about the Lung Cancer Screening Program
Currently, the cost of participating in the Karmanos Lung Cancer Screening Program is being partially underwritten thanks to the generous donation and support of the Gianni Ferrarotti Lung Cancer Foundation. The foundation is dedicated to increasing lung cancer awareness and supporting research that will lead to early detection and better treatment options. To join them in the fight, visit gianniscause.org
Administrators of this Program
Shirish Gadgeel, M.D., Wayne State University School of Medicine, Department of Oncology and Karmanos Cancer Center
Ayman Soubani, M.D., Wayne State University School of Medicine, Department of Oncology and Karmanos Cancer Center
Laura Mantha, R.N. - (313) 576-8401
Stephanie S. Pandolfi, Ph.D. - (313) 578-4318