Penrose Cancer Center Screening Healthy Lungs to Detect Early-Stage Lung Cancer

It is estimated that in 2012, 160,000 Americans will die from lung cancer a disease that is often diagnosed very late because it rarely causes symptoms. In fact, the five-year survival rate after diagnosis is only about 16 percent, in part because most people have advanced disease by the time they are diagnosed. But theNational Cancer Institute(NCI) recently found that if high-risk patients have a low-dose CT scan of the chest, it reduced their mortality by 20 percent.

Lung cancer kills more people than breast, colon, prostate and uterine cancers combined, says Dr. Alain Eid, Penrose-St. Francis Pulmonologist. If its discovered early, the chance of a cure is much greater than if its discovered late.With that in mind, Penrose Cancer Center and the Colorado Healthy Lung Screening Program are targeting the following individuals:

  • 55 to 74 years of age who have smoked a pack of cigarettes for 30 years or more


  • 50 years of age or older who have smoked a pack of cigarettes for 20 years or more and have other risk factors (i.e., family history of lung cancer, other lung disease history including COPD, radon exposure, occupational exposure to silica, asbestos, diesel fumes, etc.)

(The 30 pack year history is computed as smoking one pack per day for 30-years or two packs per day for 15-years, etc. The 20 pack year history is computed as smoking one pack per day for 20-years or two packs per day for 10-years, etc.)

Participants who are determined to be at-risk and consent to participate in the program will receive a low-dose CT scan of their lungs annually for three consecutive years. If there are any findings, a multidisciplinary team will review the test and make recommendations for treatment including referral to the appropriate lung care specialist for follow-up care if needed.

Low dose CT scan lung cancer screening is the first and currently the only screening test that has been shown to decrease deaths from lung cancer, said Dr. Matthew Blum, Penrose-St. Francis General Thoracic Surgeon. To minimize the use of unnecessary and potentially dangerous procedures, lung cancer screening is best done by a multidisciplinary group that includes pulmonologists, radiologists, thoracic surgeons, radiation oncologists as well as others that treat lung cancer. We are fortunate to have all of these at Penrose and we meet weekly so patients in the screening program get the benefit of multiple physicians working in concert.

To consent to be registered in the study, individuals can visit or call 1-855-456-LUNG.

The Centura Health Cancer Network diagnoses and treats more cancer patients than any other health system in the state. In 2011 alone, we saw more than 6,200 newly diagnosed patients. As we work to transform the future of health care, our focus remains on delivering innovative, person-centered care.


About Penrose Cancer Center:

Penrose Cancer Center is the only NCI Community Cancer Centers Program in Colorado. Through a full range of clinical trials, psychosocial support services and nurse navigation, Penrose Cancer Center offers a patient-centered, multidisciplinary approach - providing exceptional cancer care, closer to home. Penrose Cancer Center has been a pioneer in radiation oncology for more than 70 years, and continues our legacy of innovative treatment and technology through the use of CyberKnife and daVinci Robotics.

About Penrose-St. Francis Health Services

Penrose-St. Francis Health Services is a full-service, 522-bed acute care facility offering a full complement of emergency, medical and surgical services. Penrose-St. Francis was named one of Americas 50 Best Hospitals for 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011 and 2012by Healthgrades, the only recipient in Colorado. Penrose-St. Francis is part of Centura Health, Colorados largest hospital and health care network delivering advanced care to more than half a million people each year, across 13 hospitals, seven senior living communities, medical clinics, Flight For Life and home care and hospice services.Penrose-St. Francis and Centura's strength lies in the ability to offer a team of connected networks and shared resources to deliver accessible, reliable and cost-effective health care across the state. For more information about Penrose-St. Francis Health Services, visit

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