Comprehensive Cancer Center Launches Lung Cancer Screening Clinic

May 11, 2015

Multidisciplinary clinic offers timely, convenient access of care to patients who have a positive lung cancer screening CT scan

Recognizing how critical early detection is to successfully treat lung cancer, the Comprehensive Cancer Center of Rhode Island, The Miriam and Newport hospitals has introduced the Lung Cancer Screening Clinic. The multidisciplinary clinic, which is staffed with experienced radiologists, pulmonologists and behavioral medicine staff, provides accurate interpretation of low-dose CT scans and coordinates treatment options for patients who need additional care. 

“Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer death in the U.S. and accounts for nearly 30 percent of all cancer deaths or more than 150,000 a year,” said Terrance T. Healey, MD, director of thoracic radiology at Rhode Island Hospital. “Early and accurate detection is essential and through the Lung Cancer Screening Clinic, we are able to utilize the most advanced diagnostic imaging technology to accurately interpret low-dose CT scans of those patients who have had an abnormal or positive scan.”

He added, “While an abnormal or positive screen does not mean a patient has cancer, there could be other conditions that warrant treatment. For those who do have cancer, early detection before symptoms appear is critical to successful lung cancer treatment.”

Early screening is especially important for those most at risk for developing lung cancer. Research has shown that when compared to chest X-ray, CT scans reduced lung cancer deaths among older heavy smokers by 20 percent. Low-dose CT is recommended for people who are current or former smokers, are between the ages of 55 and 74, and who smoke or had smoked one pack of cigarettes a day for 30 years or more.

“The Lung Cancer Screening Clinic is an important resource for people who are at risk for developing lung cancer because of how successful low-dose CT is in detecting an abnormality,” said Melissa Tukey, MD, director of interventional pulmonology at The Miriam and Rhode Island hospitals. “Once referred to the clinic, patients will be seen by our staff within two weeks where we will interpret their scan and have the patient evaluated by a pulmonologist and a behavioral medicine staff member, who can help patients who are smokers find the right smoking cessation program. Our goal is to facilitate timely care for our patients and their families, while working closely with each patient’s primary care physician.”

Support staff also plays a critical role in the care provided to patients. Support staff includes: staff physical therapists, nurses, clinical social workers, patient navigators, pharmacists and nutritionists. The behavioral medicine program provides smoking cessation services and other support services for patients and families.

The Lung Cancer Screening Clinic of the Comprehensive Cancer Center, Rhode Island’s leading cancer program, is currently seeing patients at Rhode Island Hospital and The Miriam Hospital. The clinic will open at Newport Hospital this summer. For more information about the Lung Cancer Screening Clinic, please call 844-401-5864 (844-401-LUNG).