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Thoracic Cancer and Lung Screening Program

St. John's Regional Cancer Center offers a multidisciplinary team approach to lung health. The Lung Screening Program is capable of detecting cancer even before noticeable symptoms appear. Specialists from all relevant medical departments collaborate to ensure the best possible treatment plan that is individually tailored to each patient.

Get a Lung Screening Today

Our doctors can discuss with you the benefits and risks associated with a lung screening, and determine if the test is appropriate for you. Lung screenings are not recommended for everyone.  

Find out if you're a candidate by calling Christina Martinelli, Nurse Navigator, at (805) 988-2642.


If your physician found a spot or nodule on your lung, he or she may recommend you have a lung biopsy. Fewer than 5% of nodules are actually cancer, but your doctor may recommend you find out for sure.1 Biopsies obtain tissue samples from the suspicious area and the cells are examined under a microscope to determine if cancer or another disease is present. There are several ways to obtain tissue for biopsy. The biopsy approach your doctor recommends depends on the size of the nodule, location in the lung, and your overall lung health. For your biopsy, your physician may recommend:

  • Surgical biopsy
  • Transthoracic needle aspiration
  • Manual bronchoscopy with or without electromagnetic navigation
  • Robotic-assisted minimally invasive biopsy with IonRhythm irregularities.

Ion is a robotic bronchoscopy platform for minimally invasive lung biopsy. This system can reach all 18 segments of the lungs and be placed to obtain a biopsy2 through:

  • Reach:
    • The ultra-thin catheter and integrated vision probe provide the physician direct vision to reach all parts of the lungs.2
  • Precision:
    • The shape-sensing technology provides specific location and shape information throughout the biopsy process. The system holds the catheter in place for precise placement of biopsy tools.2
  • Flexibility:
    • The catheter can move 180° in all directions and the FlexisionTM biopsy needle helps enable biopsy.2
  1. What is a Lung Nodule? Patient Education Information Series. American Thoracic Society. Web. 19 June 2020 
  2. Results based on internal Intuitive testing.

Lung Screening Program

Designated as a Screening Center of Excellence by the Lung Cancer Alliance and a Lung Cancer Screening Center by the American College of Radiology.

Are you a smoker or did you smoke in the past? Smoking puts you at high risk for lung cancer. We use the latest advances in diagnosis including Electromagnetic navigational bronchoscopy, which can detect lung cancer in its early stages while it is still treatable.

Ask your doctor about getting a lung screening if you meet the following criteria:

  • Have a 20 pack year smoking history (i.e smoked 1 pack a day for 20 years, 2 packs a day for 10 years, or ½ pack a day for 40 years, etc.)

  • Currently smoke or quit within the past 15 years

Thoracic Oncology Services

Our program is dedicated to sharing the latest medical science knowledge between disciplines in order to provide the best possible outcome for each patient. A Certified Nurse Practitioner (NP-C) works to personally guide patients and their families through the entire course of cancer treatment.

Our services include:

  • Multidepartmental team: thoracic surgery, oncology, pulmonology, radiology, and pathology
  • Non-invasive and minimally-invasive techniques
  • Access to an Endobronchial Ultrasound Bronchoscopy (EBUS), a minimally invasive procedure used in the diagnosis of lung cancer, infections, and other diseases causing enlarged lymph nodes in the chest.
  • Thoracic tumor board
  • Latest advances in diagnosis including: electromagnetic navigational bronchoscopy and low dose CT scan

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