Lung Cancer Screening Program Earns Center of Excellence Designation
Alamance County woman credits screening program for saving her life
Greensboro— No one wants to learn that they have lung cancer. But Luana Hresko-Schaefer sees a silver lining in her diagnosis. “I would have died. That’s just the simple fact of my medical condition. Lung cancer would have killed me.” But her cancer was found early thanks to the low-dose lung cancer screening program at Cone Health.
The pack a day smoker knew her habit was a bad idea, but was careful about seeing her doctor and having regular X-rays. Hresko-Schaefer’s doctor recommended a low-dose CT scan through the Cone Health Lung Cancer Screening Program at Alamance Regional Medical Center.
The screening found a tumor in Hresko-Schaefer’s left lung. Since the program works closely with a dedicated team of physicians and surgeons, patients can often start treatment within days of their scan if needed. Hresko-Schaefer’s doctors are confident that they caught the disease in time.
“Traditionally lung cancer has been very deadly because it usually goes undetected until it is advanced or has spread throughout the body,” states Dan Entrikin, MD, radiologist with Greensboro Imaging, which is involved in the screening program. “Low-dose CT scans have been proven to catch lung cancers early, before they've had a chance to spread, when there are effective treatments that can potentially cure the disease. Patients also avoid the higher radiation exposure of regular CT scans. These low-dose scans are now recommended for select long-term smokers and former long-term smokers."
The lung cancer screening program at Cone Health has been named a Screening Center of Excellence by the Lung Cancer Alliance for its ongoing commitment to responsible lung cancer screening. “Low dose CT screening is the only proven, research supported, method of detecting lung cancer at an early and treatable stage,” says Cone Health Lung Cancer Screening Program Navigator Sarah Groce, NP. “Cone Health not only recommends lung cancer screenings for those who meet the criteria, but by becoming a Designated Screening Center of Excellence, we show that we meet the highest national standards in providing this service in our community”
Designated Screening Centers of Excellence must:
- Provide clear information based on the latest science as to who is a candidate for lung cancer screening.
- Meet comprehensive standards developed by multiple professional bodies to ensure high quality, responsible screening to patients.
- Use teams of physicians, surgeons and nurse navigators to guide and track patients through screening, diagnosis, and treatment in a timely and efficient manner.
As for Hresko-Schaefer, the Graham resident is a firm believer in lung cancer screening. “Stop smoking and have the low-dose CT scan done. It can save your life.”
Cone Health offers lung cancer screenings at locations in Alamance, Forsyth, Guilford and Rockingham Counties. People wanting more information can call 336-547-1878 or go to conehealth.com/lungscreening, where a lung cancer screening video is available.