Banner Health News Center  

Lung Cancer Screening Program first to detect early stages of lung cancer


Up until now, no screening regimen has been shown to improve survival from lung cancer
LOVELAND, CO (Feb. 6, 2014) – Banner Health integrates Northern Colorado Lung Cancer Screening into comprehensive program. This program provides screening available to help detect lung cancer early, when it still may be treatable. Up until now, no screening regimen has been shown to improve survival from lung cancer. In addition, those participating in the program may also receive assistance with smoking cessation. 

Lung Cancer is the most common cause of cancer death in the United States, and more people die from lung cancer than breast, prostate and colon cancer combined. For the first time, recent studies have shown that annual CAT scans in select individuals can decrease lung cancer mortality by 20 percent and decrease non-lung cancer mortality by 9.6 percent.

“Screening is an early detection tool to look for cancer, often before symptoms occur,” said pulmonologist Gregory Golden, DO, director of the Banner Northern Colorado Lung Cancer Screening Program. “If cancer is found early, it may be easier to treat. Lung cancer is sometimes not found until it has advanced to a stage where treatment or cure is less favorable.”

Cigarette smoking is the leading cause of lung cancer. In addition, certain exposures and lung conditions such as emphysema or family history of lung cancer increases your risk.

Initially, lung cancer usually does not present symptoms or only mild symptoms. Common signs of lung cancer include:

  • A change in an ongoing cough or a cough that produces a lot of mucus
  • A change in the character of sputum produce, or streaks of blood
  • Wheezing (a whistling or squeaky sound when you breathe)
  • Chest tightness or difficulty breathing
  • Weight loss

Consider participating in the screening program if you meet any of the following criteria:

  • Lung screening is suggested for anyone between ages 55-79 who have a 30-pack year history of smoking
  • Lung cancer survivors starting five years after initial treatment
  • Population over age 50, with 20-pack year history of smoking and one other risk factor

*To calculate your pack year history, multiply the number of packs smoked in one day by the number of years you have smoked.

If you think you or someone you love may benefit from lung cancer screening, contact your primary care physician or the Banner Northern Colorado Lung Cancer Screening Program. If something is discovered on your imaging, you will be referred to a lung specialist who will help you understand the results.

“Not all abnormalities represent cancer and further imaging or testing may be necessary to understand the nature of your abnormality,” says Dr. Golden. “More lives can be saved with early detection, and recent clinical trials have indicated outcomes for lung cancer are improved with screenings.”

To see if you would benefit from screening, please email or contact your primary care physician for more information.

About McKee Medical Center
McKee Medical Center, opened in 1976, is a fully accredited, private nonprofit facility in Loveland, CO. McKee is owned by Banner Health, a nonprofit healthcare system with 24 hospitals in seven states. It offers Emergency care, cancer care, heart care, orthopedics, inpatient and outpatient surgery, obstetrics, pediatrics, rehabilitation, intensive care, lab and medical imaging. For more information, please visit

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