About Our Program

According to the World Health Organization, lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer-related deaths among both men and women. In fact, more people die from lung cancer than of breast, colon and prostate cancer combined.

The Jamaica Hospital Lung Cancer Screening Program is committed to improving the morbidity and mortality associated with lung cancer.

Lung cancer screening helps to identify cancer at an early stage when treatment can be most effective. Early detection with a low dose computed tomography (LDCT) scan can improve survival in people with lung cancer. Our program offers screening with a LDCT chest scan to high-risk individuals who are eligible based on certain criteria (see below). Our dedicated program team consists of a coordinator, as well as specialists from pulmonary, radiology, oncology, and surgery. Once enrolled into our program, eligible individuals will perform a yearly LDCT scan until screening is no longer recommended (patients reach age 80 or have been abstinent from smoking cigarettes for 15 years or more).

Lung Cancer Facts

Cigarette smoke is linked to approximately 80-90% of lung cancer deaths. Smoking can also lead to the development of other types of cancer, chronic lung conditions such as COPD, and cardiovascular diseases (including heart attacks and strokes).
Other known risk factors for lung cancer include:
  • Exposure to secondhand smoke
  • Environmental or workplace exposures including radon, asbestos, chromium, and others
  • Family history of lung cancer
  • History of chest radiation therapy
  • Certain preexisting lung conditions, such as pulmonary fibrosis
  • Advanced age

Some of the most common signs and symptoms of lung cancer include:

  • New or worsening cough
  • Coughing up blood
  • Voice hoarseness
  • Weight loss without a cause
  • Unexplained tiredness
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Chest pain
It is important to note that lung cancer in its early stage can present without any signs or symptoms. Low dose CT scans of the chest can detect cancer early, before it has a chance to grow and spread to other parts of the body.

Who is Eligible for Lung Cancer Screening?

Lung cancer screening is not recommended for everyone.
We follow the guidelines of the United States Preventative Task Force Service and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services to determine lung cancer screening eligibility for our program.

If you meet all of the criteria (below), you may be a candidate for lung cancer screening:

  • Individuals aged 50-80 years old
  • Current smokers or those who have quit within the past 15 years
  • Tobacco smoking history of at least 20 pack-years
    (To calculate your pack-years, multiply the number of packs smoked per day X the number of years smoked. For example: a person that smoked 1 pack per day for 20 years has a 20-pack year smoking history)
  • Asymptomatic with no signs or symptoms suggestive of lung cancer

What to Expect

Shared Decision Making

Once all criteria has been met and the patient has been found to be eligible for lung cancer screening with a LDCT, they will have a shared decision making visit with a physician or nurse practitioner in person or by telehealth. During this visit the patient will have the opportunity to learn more about the risks and benefits of screening, and have their questions and concerns addressed. Patients will then be scheduled for the LDCT.

Low-Dose CT Scan

The low-dose CT scan is a special type of imaging used during screening to take detailed pictures of the lung to look for cancer. The LDCT uses one-fifth the amount of radiation than a traditional CT scan, making it safer for routine testing. During the test the patient lies flat on a table while the scanner takes multiple pictures of the lungs.
The scan is quick, painless, and noninvasive.

Results and Follow-Up

After the LDCT has been completed, a letter will be sent to the patient and the referring provider regarding the results. If the findings are normal, the recommendation will be to follow-up in 1 year for another LDCT, assuming eligibility requirements are met. If further diagnostic testing is needed, our Lung Cancer Screening Program Committee will make the appropriate recommendations to the referring patient’s physician/healthcare provider. Our coordinator will also be available for any questions that may arise.

Tobacco Cessation

Smoking remains the leading cause of lung cancer and tobacco cessation is one step individuals can take to improve their health outcomes. Our program coordinator will work together with the Jamaica Hospital smoking cessation team to assist patients in quitting. Visit the Jamaica Hospital Smoking Cessation Program for help in your quit journey.

Screening Test Risk Factors

  • There is a small risk of radiation exposure with the LDCT scan. For context, the amount of radiation exposure from the LDCT scan is equivalent to the natural background radiation that the average American is exposed to in six months.
  • Sometimes an LDCT scan may find a nodule which is not cancerous; this may produce anxiety and require further follow up imaging or diagnostic testing with their associated risks.
  • There may be incidental findings found in the lungs or other parts of the body that will require follow up with a heath care provider.

Contact Us

For more information about our program, please contact us:
Jamaica Hospital Lung Cancer Screening Program: Phone: 718-206-5603