WESTCHESTER COUNTY, N.Y. -- In the wake of recent advances in the detection and treatment of lung cancer, there is no better time to become aware of the state-of-the-art lung cancer screening and world-class, comprehensive lung cancer care that is available right here in Westchester County at the newly opened NewYork-Presbyterian Lawrence Hospital Cancer Center.
“At NewYork-Presbyterian Lawrence Hospital Cancer Center our experienced team of lung cancer specialists provides highly specialized lung cancer care that begins with low-dose CT scan lung cancer screening for the early detection of lung cancer,” said Dr. Stephanie Smith-Marrone, a medical oncologist at the Cancer Center and an Assistant Clinical Professor of Medicine at Columbia University Medical Center. “We are proud that our Cancer Center is designated a Lung Cancer Screening Center by the American College of Radiology.”
Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer death among men and women in the United States. “Currently, the majority of lung cancer is diagnosed in stages III and IV, when symptoms have already emerged and the cancer has significantly progressed,” explained Dr. Smith-Marrone, who is also the Director of the Lung Cancer Disease Management Team and Director of the Cancer Clinical Trials Program at the Hospital. “However, in 2011, the National Lung Screening Trial demonstrated that screening with low-dose CT scan is superior to chest X-ray in detecting early-stage lung cancer, and it reduced lung cancer mortality by 20 percent.”
“Low-dose CT scan screening can find a lung cancer in stages I and II, stages when curative surgery are often an option for patients.” added Dr. Smith-Marrone. “The test can be very effective in the appropriate individuals.”
Appropriate individuals for low-dose CT (LDCT) screening are men or women ages 55-80 who smoked a minimum of 30 pack-years (the number of packs smoked per day, per year); are either current smokers or have quit within the last 15 years; and presently do not have any symptoms of lung cancer.
To proceed with lung cancer screening, a patient first discusses with their primary care team, referring provider or the cancer center’s screening nurse navigator whether lung cancer screening is recommended. On the day of screening, an NYP Lawrence Cancer Center radiologist reviews the risks, benefits and potential outcomes and address any further questions. After screening, a patient will meet with the radiologist to discuss the findings and recommendations, which may include follow-up imaging or further evaluation.
In addition, an essential component of the lung cancer screening program is to take the opportunity to educate and assist in smoking cessation. The reduction in the use of tobacco products and decreased smoking rate have been integral to the reduced mortality of lung cancer patients.
“For patients who are diagnosed with lung cancer, we provide personalized care by a multidisciplinary team of experts who are solely focused on lung cancer, from diagnosis to treatment and into survivorship,” said Dr. Smith-Marrone. “Additionally, our affiliation with the NCI-Designated Comprehensive Cancer Center at NYP/Columbia University Medical Center (CUMC) provides access to cutting-edge, front-line clinical trials.”
At present, the NYP Lawrence lung cancer team refers eligible patients for clinical trials to the CUMC location in New York City. “Through our close relationship with Columbia, I am able to fast-track patients into clinical trials including chemotherapy trials, targeted trials and new immunotherapy trials,” said Dr. Smith-Marrone. “In the future, our goal is to provide clinical trials here at NYP Lawrence so our patients won’t have to travel to the city.”
Dr. Smith-Marrone is optimistic that rapid advancements in lung cancer treatment will significantly improve the survival of patients with advanced-stage lung cancer. “In the past decade we have seen a revolution in the treatment of stage IV lung cancer including the development of targeted drugs and immune checkpoint inhibitors. These FDA approved therapies have fewer side effects than standard chemotherapy and are more effective in the appropriate patient. It is very rewarding to be able to offer more treatment options for patients.”
At the recently opened NYP Lawrence Cancer Center, Dr. Smith-Marrone welcomes the community to explore the beautiful, spacious and patient-friendly setting. “In addition to comprehensive care, the Cancer Center offers a full range of supportive care, including a nurse navigator who coordinates appointments, as well as social work, nutrition support, genetic counseling, palliative care, pulmonary and physical rehabilitation and survivorship clinics,” she said. “These services are usually reserved for larger academic centers, but we are providing them right here, close to where our patients live and work.”
To make an appointment with Dr. Smith-Marrone or get more information about lung cancer screening, call 914-787-3100.
For more information about cancer care at NewYork-Presbyterian Lawrence Hospital Cancer Center visit nyp.org/lawrencecancer.