VUMC Lung Cancer Screening Center earns recognition
June 9, 2016 | Dagny Stuart
The ACR Lung Cancer Screening Center designation is a voluntary program that recognizes facilities that have committed to practice safe, effective diagnostic care for individuals at the highest risk for lung cancer.
In order to receive this elite distinction, facilities must be accredited by the ACR in computed tomography in the chest module, as well as undergo a rigorous assessment of its lung cancer screening protocol and infrastructure. Centers must have procedures for follow-up patient care, such as counseling and smoking cessation programs.
“Screening for lung cancer is more than a CT scan. Patients are enrolled in a program that includes one-on-one counseling on the risks and benefits of the exam, the importance of adherence to annual screening, and are given tools for smoking cessation,” said Kim Sandler, M.D., assistant professor of Radiology and Radiological Sciences and assistant director of the Vanderbilt Lung Screening Program. “We look forward to continuing to work with the ACR while providing the best possible care for our patients and increasing awareness of screening for referring providers and eligible individuals.”
Lung cancer is the nation’s leading cancer killer – taking the lives of more people each year than breast, colon and prostate cancers combined. Patients often have few symptoms until the disease is at an advanced stage, so early detection is key to improved survival.
The benefit of screening a specific group of high-risk patients was confirmed by the National Lung Screening Trial (NLST), which randomized more than 53,000 current or former heavy smokers to receive three annual low-dose spiral CT scans or a standard chest X-ray. The study found a 20 percent reduction in deaths from lung cancer among patients who received the CT scans. John Worrell, M.D., professor of Radiology and Radiological Sciences and chief of Thoracic Radiology, was Vanderbilt’s principal investigator for the NLST.