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Inspira Launches Lung Cancer Screening Program for Early Detection

Journal Staff Report | 4/14/2014, 10:58 a.m.
Lung cancer is the number one cause of cancer deaths in the United States for both men and women and ...
Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer deaths in both men and women in the United States. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Photo

Lung cancer is the number one cause of cancer deaths in the United States for both men and women and 85% of lung cancer cases are caused by smoking. Additionally, Cumberland, Gloucester and Salem counties' lung cancer rates are among the highest in New Jersey. Inspira Health Network is now offering a comprehensive lung cancer screening program focused specifically on saving lives in our community.

“It’s important for the community to know that if diagnosis happens at an earlier stage, there is a much better chance that the patient can be cured with appropriate treatment and survive the disease,” said Ugo Ogwudu, M.D., fellowship-trained minimally invasive thoracic surgeon with Inspira Medical Group.

Inspira’s new lung cancer screening program provides the region with access to critical screening for early detection which is proven to increase survivorship. The program follows the high risk inclusion criteria as established by the National Lung Cancer Screening Trial, which found that screening for lung cancer using low-dose CT scans can lower the chance of dying from lung cancer by 20%.

Those eligible for screening must be:

• Between the ages of 55 and 74 and are a current or former smoker with at least a 30 pack year smoking history (a “pack year” is the number of packs smoked daily multiplied by the number of years smoking)

• Former smokers must have quit within the last 15 years

• No history of any form of cancer within the last five years

Patients who do not fall into the criteria will not be eligible for the program. However, for anyone who has questions about lung cancer or would like help with quitting smoking, Inspira’s Thoracic, Head and Neck Oncology Nurse Navigator is available to provide support, education and resources.

The research supporting the benefits of lung cancer screening is recent, and therefore most health insurance companies and Medicare do not cover it yet. Inspira currently charges only $125 for the lung cancer screening CT scan and interpretation—considerably lower than other programs. Any recommended follow up tests and physician appointments are not included in this charge, but are likely covered by most insurance plans and Medicare.

If a screening produces a non-negative result, Inspira’s experienced cancer team of oncologists, nurse navigators and fellowship-trained thoracic surgeon will work in collaboration with the patient’s primary care physician to provide high quality care in a timely manner.

“Coordination of care is a significant benefit to patients—especially cancer patients,” said Sandra Murray, R.N., C.T.T.S., Thoracic, Head and Neck Oncology Nurse Navigator. “Here at Inspira we partner with each patient’s team of specialists, including their primary care physician, to make sure that each patient receives the best care possible—whether they are trying to prevent or fight cancer.”

Community members who are interested in lung cancer screening, whether it is for them or for a loved one, are encouraged to contact Inspira at (856) 641-8670.

Lung cancer screening is provided at the Frank and Edith Scarpa Regional Cancer Pavilion in Vineland, which has been designated as a Comprehensive Community Cancer Program by the American College of Surgeons Commission on Cancer (CoC). In 2013 the cancer team was honored for the third consecutive time with the CoC’s Outstanding Achievement Award for providing the highest quality cancer care.

Inspira Health Network is a charitable nonprofit health care organization formed in November 2012 by the merger of South Jersey Healthcare and Underwood-Memorial Hospital. The network, which traces its roots to 1899, now comprises three hospitals, four multi-specialty health centers and a total of more than 60 locations. These include outpatient imaging and rehabilitation centers; urgent care; numerous specialty centers, including sleep medicine, cardiac testing and wound care; home care and hospice; and more than two dozen primary and specialty physician practices in Cumberland, Gloucester and Salem counties.

Together with its medical staff of more than 1,100 physicians and other care providers, Inspira Health Network provides evidence-based care to help each patient achieve the best possible outcome. Clinical and support staffs are focused on providing quality care in a safe environment. For more information about Inspira Health Network, visit www.InspiraHealthNetwork.org or call 1-800-INSPIRA.

Source: Inspira Health Network