What is the Lung Cancer Screening Program?
The Lung Cancer Screening Program at WVU Cancer Institute Regional Cancer Center provides screenings, evaluations and counseling for lung cancer in high-risk populations. We use a Low Dose CT scan to screen for lung masses or nodules that could indicate lung cancer. As part of our program, we also offer resources and counseling for individuals who want to quit smoking.
Why is Early Detection Important?
- Our goal is to provide early detection, diagnosis and treatment for individuals with lung cancer.
- Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer deaths in the United States.
- In 2011, the National Lung Screening Trial found that screenings by low dose CT scans reduced lung cancer deaths by 20%.
- CT scans can detect very small nodules in the lung, diagnosing cancer at its earliest, most treatable stage.
- If lung cancer is found after it has metastasized (spread to other parts of the body), the 5-year survival rate is reduced to 6%.
Who is Eligible?
The Lung Cancer Screening Program is designed to provide lung cancer screenings to high-risk populations. Medicare and most insurance plans will cover the cost for screening if you meet the following eligibility requirements:
- You are between the ages of 55-77
- You have a greater than 30 pack-year smoking history*
- You are a current smoker or have quit smoking in the past 15 years
- You have not received a CT scan in the past 12 months
Click here for more information about calculating your pack-years.
Most private insurance plans and Medicare will cover lung cancer screening with no out-of-pocket expenses.
What is Self-referral?
The Lung cancer screening program accepts self-referrals. If you do not have a Primary Care Provider, and meet eligibility criteria, you will be scheduled with a Pulmonologist. They will perform a complete history and physical exam to assess your lung cancer risk. If appropriate, you will be scheduled for a low dose CT scan.
What Can I Expect During Screening?
Your primary care provider or a specialist can confirm eligibility and discuss the risks and benefits of lung cancer screening. Once your physician confirms eligibility, the nurse navigator will contact you to answer any questions and schedule a low dose CT scan. You will be contacted as soon as possible to discuss the results of the screening, and recommendations for follow-up will be communicated at that time. Your results will also be available in MyChart.
The test will only take a few minutes and no preparation is needed. You may eat and drink normally before and after the test. After the scan, you will be contacted to discuss the results of the screening, and recommendations for follow-up will be communicated at that time. Your results will also be available through your MyWVUChart.com account. If necessary, you may have an appointment scheduled with the Lung Nodule Clinic to discuss your plan of care. During this appointment, further diagnostic testing may be ordered.
Why Is It Important to Stop Smoking?
The best way to prevent lung cancer is to stop smoking. Tobacco use accounts for nearly 90% of all lung cancers. Our multidisciplinary staff is available to provide education and support throughout the screening process. For additional support, contact 1-800-Quit-Now (1-800-784-8669).
Who Do I Contact for Additional Information?
For more information about the Lung Cancer Screening Program, please contact Erin Bower, Lung Nodule Program Nurse Navigator, at 304-264-1287 Ext. 31279.
Lung Cancer Screening Program Overview
In 2011, the National Lung Screening Trial results showed a 20 percent reduction in lung cancer mortality with annual Low Dose CT scans for high-risk individuals. Detecting more lung cancers at an earlier stage leads to a better prognosis for patients. The Lung Cancer Screening Program at WVU Cancer Institute Regional Cancer Center strives to diagnose lung cancer at its earliest, most treatable stage.
The Lung Cancer Screening Program features a multidisciplinary team of providers from primary care, radiology, interventional radiology, pulmonology, thoracic surgery and medical and radiational oncology. The team uses Lung-RADS, established by ACR, to categorize low dose findings in the event of cancer. Each category is linked with specific recommendations for follow-up. Evaluation of any nodules detected during screenings follows an algorithm developed by the Lung Cancer Screening team. Led by pulmonology, the team reviews cases based on the algorithm and works together to develop a plan of care.
Our multidisciplinary team of providers will work collaboratively with you to ensure your patients receive the highest quality care. Following the LDCT, results will be communicated to both the patient and you, the ordering provider in a timely manner to ensure continuity of care. The nurse navigator will maintain open communication with your office regarding test results, including incidental findings, and a plan of care. All lung screening results will be entered into our ACR registry. Our nurse navigator utilizes the registry to ensure patients follow up with recommendations proposed by the program’s care team. Certified tobacco cessation specialists are available to meet with patients to discuss and help them develop a plan to quit smoking.
If you have a patient that is at high risk for developing lung cancer and meets the eligibility requirements described below, you can refer them to our Lung Cancer Screening Program. Private insurance plans and Medicare will cover lung cancer screening with no out-of-pocket expenses if the patient:
- Is between the ages of 55-77
- Is a current smoker or former smoker who quit within the past 15 years
- Has a 30 pack-year smoking history. Click here for pack-years calculator.
- Has not received a chest CT scan in the past 12 months
Cigar smokers and other non-cigarette smokers are not eligible to participate in the Lung Cancer Screening Program at this time.
Shared Decision Making
Education and shared decision making discussions need to be performed and documented by the ordering provider for all baseline lung screening scans per CMS guidelines. This includes:
- Determining patient eligibility to enter the Lung Cancer Screening Program based on the eligibility criteria detailed above
- Explaining the benefits and potential complications of screening including:
- reduced mortality rates from lung cancer
- possibility of false-positive results leading to over-diagnosis
- potential follow-up diagnostic tests as a result of screening
- total radiation exposure
- Discussing the significance of smoking cessation and providing resources and interventions if applicable
- Advising the patient on the importance of adhering to annual lung cancer screenings
A shared decision aid must be utilized during this process. These aids can be provided by the Lung Cancer Screening Program Nurse Navigator. Click here for additional information about shared decision making.
The order for lung cancer screening with low dose CT scan must include ALL of the following information.
- Date of birth
- Pack-year history of smoking
- Current smoking status
- If a former smoker, the number of years since the patient quit
- Ordering provider’s NPI
- Share decision making documents
- Insurance codes
- Information documenting adherence to program eligibility guidelines including:
- No concerning signs or symptoms of lung cancer
- 12 months since patient’s last chest CT
For more information regarding the Lung Cancer Screening program, please contact Erin Bower, Nurse Navigator, at 304-264-1287 Ext. 31279.