Published on December 11, 2019

Lung Cancer Screening is Saving Lives

In 2016, Concord Hospital Payson Center for Cancer Care launched the Lung Cancer Screening Program, a collaboration including Concord Hospital Medical Group primary and specialty care, New Hampshire Oncology-Hematology, Concord Imaging Center and Radiation Oncology Associates.

Lung cancer kills more Americans annually than breast, prostate and colorectal cancers combined, in part because by the time symptoms develop, the cancer often is too advanced to cure. But lung cancer can be treated and cured more reliably if it is discovered early before patients begin experiencing symptoms such as cough, shortness of breath or chest pain.

Concord Hospital’s Lung Cancer Screening program includes low-dose computed tomography (LDCT) screening, in which an X-ray machine uses low doses of radiation to make detailed pictures of the lungs.

“This is a life-saving procedure,” said Dr. Martin Black of Concord Pulmonary Medicine, a Concord Hospital Medical Group practice. “Because the lung is built with so much redundancy of capacity, people don’t come in for evaluation until symptoms are present, which means a large amount of tumor progression has occurred before they actually feel it.”

The annual scans are coupled with an assessment of lung function, smoking cessation counseling and very structured follow-up and reporting of results, with the goal of finding a cancer early enough to be cured.