Tripler offers new lung cancer screening access

| November 4, 2016 | 0 Comments
Many patients with lung cancer show very few, if any, symptoms. November is Lung Cancer Awareness Month and to mark the occasion TAMC is expanding its cancer-screening program to allow direct patient access.

Many patients with lung cancer show very few, if any, symptoms. November is Lung Cancer Awareness Month and to mark the occasion TAMC is expanding its cancer-screening program to allow direct patient access.


William Sallett

Tripler Army Medical Center
HONOLULU — November is Lung Cancer Awareness Month.
To mark this occasion, Tripler Army Medical Center, or TAMC, is expanding its formal program and now allowing patients the opportunity to go directly to the Pulmonary Clinic to be screened early for lung cancer.

According to the American Cancer Society, lung cancer is the No. 1 killer of men and women in America. More than 225,000 people are diagnosed with lung cancer each year. However, until recently, there was no effective process for screening patients for early signs of lung cancer.

Many patients who have lung cancer show very few, if any, symptoms. When symptoms are present, the most common include shortness of breath, coughing, coughing blood, loss of appetite and weight, fatigue and weakness.

Early screeners
Since 2014 many patients have benefitted from early screening.

“I smoked since I was 17,” said Rita Yamaki, a 76-year-old patient of the Pulmonary Clinic and a lung cancer survivor. “I went through the early screening and couldn’t be happier that I did. The tests showed a small amount of cancer, and the doctors were able to take care of it without me having to go through radiation or chemotherapy.”

“Rita is a prime example of why early screening is so important,” said Dr. Donald Helman, chief, TAMC Pulmonary Clinic. “Lung cancer is a devastating, deadly disease that affects too many people in our community. It’s the No. 1 cancer killer in America, causing more deaths, every year, than breast, prostate and colon cancers combined.

“Unfortunately,” he said, “most lung cancers are diagnosed at a late stage, when they are difficult to treat and nearly impossible to cure.”

The program includes a counseling session with a TAMC nurse navigator, an annual Computed Tomography, or CT scan of the chest, if you are eligible and interested, and access to the most comprehensive pulmonary services in Hawaii.

“This truly is a comprehensive screening,” said Helman. “It can detect lung cancers at earlier, treatable and even curable stages and can save lives.”
Certain criteria outline the eligibility for patients who are interested in screening, but because there are many risk factors that are associated with lung cancer, the criteria are not strictly limited to age or smoking habits.

“If you or a loved one smoke, or used to smoke, are 55-80 years old, and smoked a pack a day for 30 years, or an equivalent amount, please consider lung cancer screening,” said Helman. “It could save your life.”

Screening Options
If you are interested in early screening or would like more information on lung cancer, please make an appointment through your primary care manager at (808) 433-2778.
Visit https://www.tamc.amedd.army.mil/offices/Pulmonary/ or stop by the TAMC Pulmonary Clinic and speak with a staff member.

TAMC Tip: Being Smoke Free

Tripler Army Medical Center logoTobacco use can lead to nicotine/tobacco dependence and serious health problems.
Quitting smoking has immediate, as well as long-term benefits for you and your loved ones.
Take a few minutes to make the decision to be smoke-free. By stopping this habit, your health benefits from the following:

•Lowered risk for lung cancer and many other types of cancer.
•Reduced risk for heart disease, stroke and peripheral vascular disease.
•Reduced heart disease risk within one to two years of quitting.
•Reduced respiratory symptoms, such as coughing, wheezing and shortness of breath.
•Reduced risk of developing chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, or COPD, one of the leading causes of death in the United States.
•Reduced risk for infertility in women of reproductive age. Women who stop smoking during pregnancy also reduce their risk of having a low birth weight baby. There is also less risk that the baby will be born too early.

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Category: Community, Health

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