Norwalk, CT - Norwalk Hospital has launched a lung cancer-screening program based upon the findings of the National Lung Screening Trial (NLST) sponsored by the National Cancer Institute and the New England Journal of Medicine. The program is being led by Dr. James Bauman, radiologist with Norwalk Hospital and Norwalk Radiology and Mammography Center, and Dr. Stephen Winter, chief of pulmonary and critical care medicine at Norwalk Hospital.
The NLST was a multi-year research study of more than 53,000 people between the ages of 55 and 74 with a 30-pack year smoking history. The study, conducted at 33 trial sites nationwide, showed a 20 percent reduction in lung cancer deaths among those who were screened by computed tomography (CT) versus those who had standard chest x-rays.
“Lung cancer is the leading single cancer killer in the United States, representing about 25% of all cancer deaths,” said Dr. Bauman. “However, lung cancer can be curable if diagnosed early and that is why this study is so promising.”
For individuals in the community who meet the criteria of the NLST study, Norwalk Hospital is now offering “low-dose” non-contrast CT -- which produces a three-dimensional image of the lungs -- for early detection of lung cancer. In addition, a coronary calcium score will be calculated from the information available from this study. “This can improve risk assessment for heart disease when added to traditional risk factors,” said Dr. Alan Richman, chairman of the Norwalk Hospital Department of Radiology. A personalized smoking cessation program is being offered by Norwalk Hospital to active smokers who enroll in this screening program at no additional cost.
Patients may be referred by a physician or can be self-referred if they specifically meet the NLST trial guidelines:
Age of 55 to 74 years.
Current or former smokers with a smoking history of 30 pack-years – calculated by multiplying the average number of cigarettes smoked per day by the number of years a person smoked.
Patients and referring physicians will be notified of the test results and a lung health navigator will assist patients with positive findings with any follow-up that is needed.
The cost of the study at Norwalk Radiology & Mammography Center, an outpatient affiliate of Norwalk Hospital, is $250. A $100 coupon is available on the web site, www.norwalkhospital.org that will reduce the cost to $150.
“We are hopeful that advancements in research and technology will continue to help us in the fight against lung cancer,” said Dr. Winter. “However, we do know that smoking is the leading cause, so the best way to prevent lung cancer is not to start smoking or to stop smoking,” he added.
For more information about this program, please call 203-838-4886 or visit www.ctlungcancerscreening.com.