Overlake Medical Center physicians are hoping to increase the
odds of surviving lung cancer with earlier detection.
The hospital launched a new lung cancer screening program aimed to help
identify lung cancer in its earlier stages, when five-year survival
rates can reach as high as 75 percent with surgery.
"Unfortunately, many patients we see are already in the later stages of
lung cancer when the chances of successful treatment are significantly
reduced," said Todd Freudenberger, MD, an Overlake specialist in
pulmonary medicine and one of the hospital's leading lung cancer
experts. "With earlier detection, we know we can make a significant
difference in the lives of our patients and tilt the odds back in their
The new lung cancer screening program uses an affordable, low-dose CT
scan that uses only 10 to 30 percent as much radiation compared to a
standard-dose CT scan. All patients have to do is hold their breath for
six seconds during the screening.
The hospital recommends patients who have smoked for 15 or more years
should discuss having the low-dose cancer screening with their primary
"The discouraging reality about lung cancer is early stages of the
cancer are not easily detected without such screenings," said Dr.
Freudenberger. "Patients become aware of the disease when symptoms
become apparent. Too often, this signals a later, less treatable, stage
of disease. We know we can catch this disease earlier with the right
screening technology. This gives us the best chance of making a
Stage I lung cancer has a 60 percent five-year survival rate, which
rises to at least 75 percent with surgery. Later stage lung cancer, on
the other hand, has a very por prognosis. The five-year survival rate
for Stage III lung cancer is a dismal 15 percent and the rate for Stage
IV lung cancer is less than one percent.
Urged on by recent studies indicating that CT screening significantly
reduces lung cancer deaths, an advisory panel to Medicare convened in
May to discuss the low-dose CT screening for lung cancer and assess
whether Medicare should cover the screening in high-risk individuals.
However, the panel voted against recommending national Medicare coverage
for the annual screening for lung cancer.
"Having Medicare and other insurers cover screening would clearly save
lives. Until these payers decide to cover this important screening tool,
our goal is to keep low-dose CT screening as affordable as possible,"
said Dr. Freudenberger.
Overlake Medical Center's low-dose lung cancer screening costs $199.
Should the screening reveal a patient does, in fact, have lung cancer,
Overlake Medical Center's Cancer Center provides the latest and most
technologically advanced methods of treatment, including surgery,
chemotherapy, radiation therapy and targeted drug therapy.
Overlake's unique lung cancer program is distinguished by
state-of-the-art diagnostic capabilities, leading-edge treatments and a
skilled, interdisciplinary staff, which includes a dedicated thoracic
surgeon and a lung cancer navigator. The lung cancer navigator is
available to provide guidance to patients and their families throughout
the treatment process.
According to the American Cancer Society, lung cancer is the second most
common type of cancer diagnosed in men and women. In fact, lung cancer
causes more deaths in the United States than breast, colon, pancreas and
prostate cancer combined.
For more information about Overlake Medical Center's Lung Cancer
program, go to: http://www.overlakehospital.org/services/cancer/types-treated/lung/.
Reporters interested in talking to Dr. Todd Freudenberger about
the lung cancer screening should contact Daven Rosener at The Keller
Group, 253-307-5402 or email, firstname.lastname@example.org.
About Overlake Medical Center
Overlake Medical Center is a nonprofit, non-tax-supported regional
medical center with a network of primary care, specialty and urgent care
medical clinics throughout the Eastside. The hospital is licensed for
349 beds and offers a comprehensive range of services, including cardiac
care, cancer care, general and specialty surgery, women's programs,
senior care and psychiatric services, and it was the first Level III
trauma service on the Eastside. For more information, visit www.overlakehospital.org.
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