Temple Health brings advanced chest screenings to CH hospital

by Marc Diamond, MD, Temple Health News Service
Posted 3/7/24

If you’re over 50 years old and have a history of smoking, you may be a candidate for a low-dose computed tomography (LDCT) screening.

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Temple Health brings advanced chest screenings to CH hospital


If you’re over 50 years old and have a history of smoking, you may be a candidate for a low-dose computed tomography (LDCT) screening, according to the US Preventive Services Task Force guidelines and recent recommendations from the American Cancer Society.

Lung cancer is the third-most commonly detected cancer in the United States and is one of the most common types of cancer found in both women and men. It is also the most deadly because it tends to be detected at a later stage.

LDCT screenings enable patients and providers to detect lung cancer earlier, when treatment options are more effective. Unfortunately, in 2022, only 4.5% of all eligible individuals were screened, according to the American Lung Association.

LDCT screenings are a safe and effective tool used to detect lung cancer and can also reveal conditions such as COPD, emphysema, heart disease, osteoporosis, sleep apnea, diabetes, and more. Patients who are eligible for these scans may also be at high risk for these conditions. 

The Temple Healthy Chest Initiative is working to expand access to screenings in the area to help patients be more proactive about their health. The scan itself requires no preparation and usually takes less than 10 minutes. Because it is a low-dose scan with about the same amount of radiation as a transatlantic flight, it is safe to undergo annually, should your provider determine that to be necessary.

An LDCT screening includes images of the heart and lungs, so physicians can detect everything from coronary artery disease and abnormalities of the thyroid, kidney, liver, breast, and spine; to emphysema and diseases of the esophagus and upper abdomen. Armed with this information, they can make necessary decisions with their patients to ensure an appropriate treatment path.

The screening process and subsequent shared decision-making is a collaborative process between Temple physicians and their patients. After a Temple radiologist reads the scan and generates a report, a dedicated Nurse Navigator meets with the patient to explain the CT scan results, discuss next steps, and answer any questions. A Nurse Navigator then helps to arrange any needed follow-up appointments and makes sure that the treating professionals are kept aware of any significant developments.

In addition to clinical follow-up, the Temple Healthy Chest Initiative connects patients to smoking cessation programs and other support options. To make screening support options available to all eligible patients in the region, the Temple Healthy Chest Initiative has expanded to the Temple Lung Center at Chestnut Hill Hospital. 

The health benefits of screening and detecting cancer or cardiovascular disease early cannot be overestimated. Simply put, screening saves lives and provides the best chance to minimize a disease’s impact on a patient’s quality of life.