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St. John's Offers Lung Cancer Screenings


St. John’s Regional Medical Center (SJRMC) and St. John’s Pleasant Valley Hospital (SJPVH), members of Dignity Health, offer a proactive lung cancer screening program to those with a high risk of developing lung cancer.

Thursday, November 17 is the American Cancer Society’s Great American Smokeout, a day designated to encourage smokers to kick their smoking habit, even if for one day. In observance of this day and in support of Lung Cancer Awareness Month, SJRMC and SJPVH urge community members to determine whether they are a candidate for our lung cancer screening program, which is now covered by most insurance providers.

“Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer death for both men and women worldwide, however, it is the only cancer not subject to routine screening,” said Alicia Zaragoza, Oncology Nurse Navigator at SJRMC and SJPVH. “With our screening program, we can save the lives of patients with high risk for lung cancer through early detection. We want to emphasize the importance of early screening during the month of November, which is Lung Cancer Awareness Month, but also that this screening is important year round.”

If an individual is deemed at high risk, the option to meet with our oncology nurse navigator will be recommended and a low-dose computerized tomography scan of the chest, commonly called a CT or CAT scan, will be ordered. The screening, which only takes minutes to complete, produces detailed images of the lungs and other structures inside the chest. If any abnormalities are present, the scan will be reviewed by a dedicated multidisciplinary team of physicians that specialize in the treatment and diagnosis of lung cancer. Once reviewed, our physicians will discuss options for further evaluation and treatment with you and your primary care physician, if necessary.

Lung cancer is the number one cause of death among all cancers in the United States. While early stage survival rates are high, many lung cancer cases are detected in the later stages, when survival is approximately 3.9%. Early detection can save lives, and that is why SJRMC and SJPVH have developed this screening program for those deemed at high risk for the lung cancer.

Under the leadership of local physicians, the lung cancer screening program at SJRMC and SJPVH was created to diagnose patients at a treatable stage, before symptoms develop. For questions about the program, or to find out if you are a candidate, please call 805.988.2641. 

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