City of Hope has set up an integrated lung cancer screening and tobacco cessation program to help smokers detect problems earlier and move on to a smoke-free life.
Dan Raz (Photo by p.cunningham)
Health screenings for smokers
- Open to current and former smokers over age 55.
- Computed tomography (a CT scan) is used to look for evidence of tumors.
- CT scan uses a low dose of radiation — only slightly more than in a mammogram.
- Includes a comprehensive screening for other smoking-related dangers, seeking early signs of emphysema, head and neck cancer, coronary blockages and other problems.
“This will be a first in the nation, as far as we know, to have a program delivering a comprehensive tobacco exposure risk evaluation,” says Dan J. Raz, M.D., assistant professor of surgery and co-director of the Lung Cancer Program.
Quit-smoking programs and resources
A new smoking-cessation program is open to patients through a physician referral. It offers these tools:
- One-on-one counseling
- Group support sessions
To enroll, contact New Patient Services at 800-826-4673. Employees can take advantage of this program, or they can enroll in one specifically for employees called Alere Quit for Life. The Alere option offers these benefits:
- One-on-one coaching online and over the phone free to participants
- Open to employees’ eligible dependents
To sign up for the Alere Quit for Life program, go to the Alere login page and enter username “CityofHope” with password “CoHQuit.”
Why the need for these programs?
Lung cancer is the No. 1 cause of cancer death. One major reason: By the time a patient has symptoms, the disease usually has reached an advanced stage. As a result, surgery isn’t even an option in about 70 percent of lung cancer cases.
Travis Veon begins administering a lung screening at City of Hope. (Photo by p.cunningham)
But most tumors found through lung cancer screening are in their earliest stages, when the disease is most easily treated. In 80 to 90 percent of these cases, doctors find the cancer before it’s spread and often before symptoms appear.
“The evidence is unequivocal. Lung cancer screening saves lives,” Raz says.
First things first, though: Give up the smoking habit.
“We believe very strongly that one of our missions is to help eliminate the use of tobacco, which is probably the most important thing people can do to decrease their cancer risk,” he says.
Josie Sandoval, M.D., and Brian Tiep, M.D., both of the Division of Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine, respectively lead the screening and cessation components of City of Hope’s program.
Others who have played an important role in developing and running the program include surgeons Jae Kim, M.D., and Frederic Grannis, M.D., and diagnostic radiologist Arnold J. Rotter, M.D.