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New LC Screening Program in Redwood City, CA


Christine

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http://www.wcbd.com/midatlantic/cbd/new ... -0011.html

Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer death for both men and women.

Now there's a new screening program that may give patients a fighting chance for long-term survival.

Years of inhaling cigarette smoke when he was a child motivated Robert Schmitt to get screened for lung cancer. Schmitt doesn't smoke, but he's concerned about his family history.

"My father was a smoker who went through a couple packs a day and died of lung cancer," Schmitt said.

The 47-year-old is participating in a lung cancer early detection program at Sequoia Hospital in Redwood City, California.

Sequoia Hospital pulmonologist Dr. Melissa Lim said the goal of the program is to "ultimately to decrease mortality from a very lethal disease."

Schmitt is also part of an international study looking at early lung cancer among people who may be at risk but don't have any symptoms.

"We're looking for anyone 40 to 80 who is a smoker, former smoker or had secondhand smoke exposure," Lim said.

A special 64-slice CT scan is so detailed it can pick up tiny tumors the size of a grain of rice instead of the dime-sized tumors traditional screenings may show. The difference to a patient is enormous.

Doctors say early detection is critical because only 15 percent of all lung cancer cases diagnosed are early stage. The rest are more advanced and much more difficult to treat.

The scan is also safer than most, delivering a third the dose of radiation of a traditional CT scan.

Within a week, Schmitt will learn if he has any signs of lung cancer. If he does not he'll come back next year for another screening.

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