November serves as gentle reminder to detect lung cancer at its earliest stage, often before symptoms develop 

CENTRAL COAST, CA November 1, 2017 – Arroyo Grande Community Hospital (AGCH), French Hospital Medical Center (FHMC) and Marian Regional Medical Center (MRMC), which are Dignity Health Central Coast hospitals, is pleased to offer a proactive lung cancer screening program to those with a high risk of developing lung cancer, the number one cancer killer in the Unites States.

In recognition of National Lung Cancer Awareness Month, Dignity Health Central Coast is urging community members to determine whether they are a candidate for our lung cancer screening program, which is now covered by most insurance providers. A lung cancer screening could be life-saving and proactive screenings can detect early signs of lung cancer, when treatment options have the greatest chance of success.

Early stage survival rates are high, however many lung cancer cases are detected in the later stages, when survival is approximately 3.9%.  Early detection can save lives, and that is why Dignity Health Central Coast has developed a screening program for those deemed at high risk for the lung cancer.

If an individual is deemed at risk, the option to meet with our oncology nurse navigators will be recommended and a low-dose computerized tomography scan of the chest, commonly called a CT or CAT scan, will be ordered.  The screening, which only takes minutes to complete, produces detailed images of the lungs and other structures inside the chest.  If any abnormalities are present, the scan will be reviewed by a dedicated multidisciplinary team of physicians that specialize in the treatment and diagnosis of lung cancer.  Once reviewed, our physicians will discuss options for further evaluation and treatment with you and your primary care physician, if necessary.

“Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer death for both men and women worldwide, however, it is the only cancer not subject to routine screening,” states Katherine Guthrie, Dignity Health Central Coast Regional Director of Cancer Services. “With our screening program, we can save the lives of patients at high risk for lung cancer through early detection.  We want to emphasize the importance of early screening during the month of November, which is Lung Cancer Awareness Month, but also that this screening is important year round.”

For additional information about the screening guidelines, Mission Hope Cancer Center will be holding an informative session on Tuesday, November 7 at 5:00 p.m. at 1325 East Church Street, Santa Maria. Zach Reagle, DO, will answer questions about the latest approaches to lung cancer treatments, minimally invasive surgeries and prevention strategies.

Under the leadership of local physicians, the lung cancer screening program at Dignity Health Central Coast was created to diagnose patients at a treatable stage, before symptoms develop.  For questions about the program, or to find out if you are a candidate, please call 805.346-3463.