Banner MD Anderson Offers Lung Cancer Screenings

December 08, 2014

Program aims for early detection and treatment of disease.

GILBERT, Ariz. – It’s the killer few people ever see coming, simply because they don’t take the time to look.

Lung cancer, which causes the most cancer deaths in both men and women in the nation, is rarely routinely screened compared to other types of the disease.

Banner MD Anderson Cancer Center aims to help change this by implementing a new lung cancer screening program that can reduce deaths through early detection and treatment.

In less than a minute, the non-invasive test checks for lung cancer in patients ages 55 to 79 years based on certain criteria. Using a low-dose spiral computed tomography (CT) scan, which uses as much as 30 to 50 percent less radiation than regular CT scan, doctors can instantly view three-dimensional images of the lungs.

“For people who are at medium or higher risk for lung cancer (per national screening guidelines), it’s especially important to not wait until experiencing symptoms before getting screened for this disease,” said Klaus Wagner, MD, medical oncologist who specializes in lung cancer at Banner MD Anderson.

Lung cancer causes more deaths than the next three most common cancers combined (colon, breast and pancreatic), according to the American Lung Association. An estimated 159,260 Americans are expected to die from lung cancer this year, accounting for approximately 27 percent of all cancer deaths. Most cases are linked to tobacco smoking.

The National Comprehensive Cancer Network recommends an annual screening for individuals who smoked on average a minimum of one pack of cigarettes a day for 30 years, and currently smoke or quit smoking less than 15 years ago, and are between ages 55 to 79. Also recommended by some national societies for annual screening are people over age 50 who have a history of smoking on average a minimum of a pack of cigarettes a day for 20 years, and who have additional lung cancer risk factors including COPD, occupational chemical exposure, lung cancer in a relative or others.

The lung cancer screenings are available for $100 and may be free depending on the patient’s insurance. To schedule an appointment or for more information, call (480) 543-6900.

Banner MD Anderson, located on the Banner Gateway campus, delivers cancer care to patients in Arizona through the collaboration of Banner Health and The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center. Banner MD Anderson offers focused disease-specific expertise in the medical, radiation and surgical management of the cancer patient; an evidence-based, multidisciplinary approach to patient care; access to clinical trials and new investigative therapies; state-of-the-art technology for the diagnosis, staging and treatment of all types of cancer; oncology expertise in supportive care services.