Lung Screenings Save Lives


We know that finding out you have cancer can be scary. But what if we told you it could help save your life?

Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer deaths for both men and women, and it is often diagnosed long after there is a chance for lifesaving treatment. At Providence Saint Joseph Medical Center, we’re working to fix that.

Our lung cancer screening program is designed to identify cancerous nodules in the lungs at earlier stages.

“If the cancer is found at an earlier stage, when it is small and before it has spread, it’s more likely to be treated successfully. The prognosis for lung cancer that’s caught early, at stage I or II, tends to be strong,” says Rosanne Morrison, director of the Roy and Patricia Disney Family Cancer Center at Providence Saint Joseph.

“Setting up a lung screening is so quick and easy, and the results are shared directly with the patient’s doctor. We want to make it as simple as possible for people who meet the criteria for a screening, so that in the best-case scenario they are in the clear, but worst case, we can detect and treat it before it becomes more serious.”

The screenings use low-dose radiation CT scans to detect tumors in their earliest, smallest stages. While not all nodules are necessarily cancerous, any that are detected by the screening will need to be biopsied to determine whether they represent a risk.

Traditional biopsies of lung nodules use needles to extract a tissue sample, but our expert pulmonologists use a state-of-the-art Ion robot to navigate through the patient’s airway and into their lungs to reach any detected nodules. A 3D scan of the lungs serves as a guide for the procedure.

“The goal of the Ion technology is to completely eliminate CT-guided biopsies through the chest,” says Kia Nikoomanesh, MD, pulmonary and critical care physician. “With the robot, we’re able to access any nodules with minimal risk, with the 3D image acting almost like a road map. It’s a same-day procedure that’s minimally invasive. You’re able to go home within an hour of the procedure.”

Our nurse navigators help you through every step of the process, from the initial screening to any treatment that may be required. They can even connect you with resources for getting help to quit smoking.

According to the American Cancer Society, 1 in 16 men and 1 in 17 women will be diagnosed with lung cancer in their lifetime, but it doesn’t have to be a death sentence. Our lung cancer screening program aims to increase the number of early identification cases, and our work with the revolutionary Ion robotic detection technology ensures that we can perform minimal-risk biopsies with greater accuracy.

“The beauty of it all is that if we can find these nodules at an early stage, we can treat them before they’re late-stage cancerous and avoid chemotherapy or radiation,” says Dr. Nikoomanesh. “If you catch it early enough, it can be just a simple resection and you’re done. It can save your life.”

To learn more or to schedule a screening, call 844-586-4543.