UPMC Chautauqua Designated As Lung Cancer Screening Center Of Excellence

UPMC Chautauqua was recently designated as a Low-Dose CT Scan Lung Cancer Screening Center of Excellence. For high-risk lung cancer patients, the designation means that care remains easily accessible and close to home.

“The scans are designed to detect abnormalities of the lung, especially with patients who have been long-term smokers,” said Tammara Card-Hodges, director, imaging services. “The designation is also important considering the disproportionately high number of smokers in the community.”

“We are excited to be able to offer this service locally, eliminating the need for patients to have to go somewhere else within the region,” Card-Hodges said. “Travel can be a challenge, and they greatly appreciate the convenience and the compassionate care here.”

Low Dose Computed Tomography (CT) scans are most appropriate for individuals ages 55 to 77 who are asymptomatic for lung cancer and have a history of at least 30 “pack years,” meaning an average of one pack/20 cigarettes per day for 30 years.

To be designated a Center of Excellence, UPMC Chautauqua had to meet multiple criteria, including complying with the National Lung Screening Trial’s comprehensive standards. The hospital also must maintain a multidisciplinary care team that includes pathologists, pulmonologists, medical and radiology oncologists, radiation technologists, nurses, and support staff.

After seeing six patients for low-dose lung scans at the kick-off of the new service last November, the hospital saw more than 40 in April. “We look forward to continuing to grow this service line, because with any form of cancer, early detection is crucial,” Card-Hodges said.


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