UMCPP and Princeton Radiology Collaborate on Reduced-Cost Lung Cancer Screening

Dec 18, 2013

Current and former smokers at a high risk for lung cancer can receive reduced-cost screening exams through a collaborative effort by Princeton Radiology and University Medical Center of Princeton at Plainsboro (UMCPP).

The screening program uses computed tomography (CT) scans in an attempt to detect lung cancer at an early stage, when treatment can be more effective. The scans are available at UMCPP and Princeton Radiology locations in Princeton and Monroe.

"Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer death for both men and women in the United States," said John A. Heim, MD, a board certified thoracic surgeon and chairman of the UMCPP Department of Surgery. "This is due in part to the fact that lung cancer generally is not diagnosed until its advanced stages."

In the past, there was no effective method to screen for lung cancer, Dr. Heim said. Now, research by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) has shown that spiral CT scans using low-dose radiation can reduce a smoker's risk of death by as much as 20 percent.

Insurance companies typically will not cover the procedure, so patients must pay the full cost. As a result, UMCPP and Princeton Radiology will provide CT scans to high-risk patients for $99-about one-third of the usual cost.

Edward Soffen, MD, a board certified radiation oncologist affiliated with both UMCPP and Princeton Radiology, said offering the test at a reduced cost should encourage more high-risk patients to be screened.

"This program will save lives," said Dr. Soffen. "If lung cancer can be detected early, it can be successfully treated."

Based on recommendations from the American Lung Association, the program is open to current and former smokers, age 55 to 74, with a smoking history of at least 30 pack years-that is, one pack a day for 30 years, two packs per day for 15 years, and so on.

A physician's order is required for the scan, ensuring that the results and any necessary follow-up care are discussed with the patient's physician and, if appropriate, a specialist who treats pulmonary nodules. Those who do not have a primary care physician and need help acquiring an order should call UMCPP's nurse navigator at 609-853-6790.

The low-dose spiral CT scans are being provided at:

  • UMCPP, Medical Arts Pavilion, Outpatient Imaging Center, 1 Plainsboro Road, Plainsboro
  • Princeton Radiology, 419 N. Harrison St., Princeton
  • Princeton Radiology, 9 Centre Drive, Monroe

To schedule an appointment, please call 609-497-4040.

Andy Williams, 609-252-8785