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New Low-Dose CT
Saving Lives with Lung Cancer Screening

HealthReach, Winter 2013 | Page 6

VEO—REVOLUTIONIZING LOW-DOSE CT SCAN

With Virginia Hospital Center’s acquisition of VEO™, all participants in the Lung Cancer Screening Program will have the highest diagnostic quality CT scans with an ultra-low dose of radiation. They are not the only patients who will benefit from this state-of-the-art, low-dose CT scanner. VEO can be used to image other parts of the body as well. It’s not available anywhere else in the metro Washington, D.C., area. In fact, Virginia Hospital Center is the only hospital in the Mid-Atlantic region with VEO.

Members of the Lung Cancer Screening Program (L-R): Nadim Nasr, MD; Kathy Dorner, LCSW; Claude Raphael, MD; Ivan Petrovitch, MD; David Duhamel, MD; Robert Christie, MD; Dona King; Russell McWey, MD

More than 160,000 Americans were expected to die from lung cancer in 2012, making it the nation’s leading cause of cancer death. Over 50 percent of lung cancer cases aren’t discovered until the disease is at an advanced stage.
This month, Virginia Hospital Center introduces its Lung Cancer Screening Program for those who are at high risk for lung cancer. We spoke to some of the Program’s physicians, Robert Christie, MD, medical oncologist; David Duhamel, MD, pulmonologist; and radiologists Ivan Petrovitch, MD and Claude Raphael, MD, about how early screening for lung cancer using a revolutionary, new low-dose CT scanner can save lives.

Who can participate in the Lung Cancer Screening Program?

The Program is for current or former smokers ages 55 to 74 with a history of smoking a pack of cigarettes or more a day for at least 30 years. Ex-smokers must have quit within the past 15 years.

What’s involved in the Program?

Participants will have a low-dose CT scan of the lungs annually until the age of 74, as long they continue to meet the Program’s criteria.

Is low-dose CT screening effective in diagnosing lung cancer?

There is compelling, quality evidence for lung cancer screening with lowdose CT scans. The National Lung Screening Trial scanned 53,000 patients at high risk for lung cancer— minimum one pack-a-day smokers for 30 years—annually for eight years. Those who had low-dose CT scan screening had a 20 percent less chance of dying than those scanned with chest X-rays.
With low-dose CT scans, even the smallest nodules—often measuring less than 4 mm—are easily detected. That means we are finding cancer at the earliest, most treatable stage.

What should I know about radiation from the CT scan?

Because the effects of radiation are cumulative over time, it is important to have the lowest possible dose of radiation. All patients in the Lung Cancer Screening Program will be screened with the new General Electric VEO™, a low-dose CT scanner that provides superior image clarity with 40 to 70 percent less radiation than a standard CT scan.

If I have a normal scan, does that mean I won’t get lung cancer?

You still are considered high risk for lung cancer because of your smoking history and will need to be screened annually. Eighty-five percent of lung cancers are related to smoking. If you are still smoking, it’s vital that you quit.

Do I need a doctor’s referral?

If you meet the general criteria, you may refer yourself by calling 703.558.8525. The Program’s coordinator will ask you some questions to determine your eligibility.

What does it cost?

At this time the screening is not covered by insurance. The cost is $325.

What if my scan is normal?

You will receive written follow-up from the Program along with a copy of your scan and report results.

What if my scan is abnormal?

You will receive a follow-up phone call from a physician affiliated with the Program and a copy of your scan and report results. The Program can help coordinate any additional care you may need. Virginia Hospital Center offers the most advanced, comprehensive diagnosis and treatment services for lung cancer.

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