November is nationally recognized as Lung Cancer Awareness Month. Lung screenings are available in Tulsa at Hillcrest Medical Center and Hillcrest Hospital South, Owasso at Bailey Medical Center, Claremore at Hillcrest Hospital Claremore and Cushing at Hillcrest Hospital Cushing. We spoke to Lindsey Wilson, RN, who is the Nurse Navigator for the Lung Cancer Screening Program about who is eligible for the screening, what patients can expect and the importance of getting a lung cancer screening.
Lindsey is the Nurse Navigator for the Lung Cancer Screening Program for all of the Hillcrest facilities. She says, “I ask each patient a few questions to determine if they meet the criteria and if they do, I schedule them for their screening and any follow ups that are required. I guide them through the program, whether they have positive or negative screening results.” Wilson shares that she enjoys being able to help patients through the lung screening process, saying “the best part is hearing the relief and joy from the patients who have a negative screening. They often tell me that my phone call has made their day! I also love being a part of the multidisciplinary team that cares for the patients that have a positive screening. Working together to provide prompt treatment for these patients is what makes our program stand out from others.”
Lindsey notes that patients do not need to do any preparation before their screening. She shares, “the patient will be able to eat and drink before the test and there is no IV contrast used for the screening.” Walking us through the process of what the patient will experience when going through the screening, Lindsey explains, “if they meet the criteria, the patient is scheduled for a low dose CT scan of the chest at a Hillcrest facility of their choice. The scan itself takes just a few minutes, then the patient is free to go. We will call the patient with their results once they are made available to us. If any further testing is required, we assist the patient with getting scheduled for those appointments and act as advocates for that patient throughout any treatment they may receive.”
Lindsey has been with Hillcrest HealthCare System for seven years and says that throughout Hillcrest, “everyone shares the same vision and support of patient care. The patient is the number one priority and the care provided by the staff is exceptional.” She adds, “getting the opportunity to truly save people’s lives is my favorite part of what I do. Catching lung cancer early is the key to successful treatment and I get to provide this service to the Hillcrest community.”
While many people have the misconception that only smokers get lung cancer, Lindsey shares that “anyone can get lung cancer, although smokers and ex-smokers are at higher risk.” According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), cigarette smoking is the cause of 80-90% of lung cancer deaths in the US. To prevent lung cancer, it’s important to quit smoking or to not start smoking. The CDC also recommends avoiding secondhand smoke in order to prevent lung cancer.
To learn more about the Lung Screening Program at Hillcrest, visit www.lungexam.com or call the Lung Center at 918-579-LUNG (5864).