By Dr. Brad Vincent
Lung cancer is the most common cause of cancer deaths in Louisiana, but the disease is 80 to 90 percent curable when caught early. Early detection efforts, in the form of yearly low-dose computed tomography (CT) scans can help spot abnormalities at their earliest stages and reduce your risk for developing advanced lung cancer. You may meet the criteria for a lung cancer screening if:
- You have a history of smoking at least 30 pack-years: A pack-year is calculated by multiplying the number of packs of cigarettes smoked per day by the number of years you have smoked. Thirty pack-years could be equivalent to 30 years of smoking one pack a day or 15 years of smoking two packs a day.
- You quit smoking less than 15 years ago: Quitting smoking greatly decreases your risk of developing lung cancer, but if you have quit recently, a screening may still be appropriate.
- You are between the ages of 55 and 74: Advanced age is an important risk factor for lung cancer, and many other types of cancers.
Additional risk factors may be considered when determining whether or not to get screened, such as a previous diagnosis of lung cancer or cancer of the head and neck, a strong family history of lung cancer or exposure to radon or asbestos. Ask your doctor if a screening is right for you.
Lung Cancer Screening Program
Mary Bird Perkins – Our Lady of the Lake Cancer Center was the first site in the region to offer lung cancer screenings and the first to be recognized by the Lung Cancer Alliance as a Screening Center of Excellence. Upon scheduling a screening, you will be enrolled in the Lung Cancer Screening Clinic. By combining the precision of the CT scan and the multidisciplinary expertise available at the Lung Clinic, you will know quickly after the screening if further follow-up is needed.
If treatment is required, a team of experts with many years of experience in treating lung cancer is available to ensure seamless care, including surgeons, pulmonologists, medical and radiation oncologists, pathologists, radiologists and others. Additionally, a patient navigator will partner and help guide you through the entire process. Survivorship services are also available to help with adjusting to life following lung cancer treatment.
Brad Vincent, MD, an interventional pulmonologist, serves as the chair of the Cancer Center’s Lung Cancer Multidisciplinary Care Team. He is a graduate of LSU Medicine in Shreveport and is an expert in advanced bronchoscopic techniques, which are used to diagnose and stage lung cancer.
Socks and ties are the typical go-to gifts because dads can be hard to buy for. But cancer prevention and early detection never go out of style. Wish your dad a healthy Father’s Day and let him know about the top three cancers that affect men. Also, encourage him to talk to his doctor about his personal risks.
Prostate Cancer is the most frequently diagnosed cancer among men in Louisiana. Dad should talk to his doctor about when to begin prostate cancer screenings. About 161,360 men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer in the U.S. each year. Take a look at this downloadable resource for more information or visit our prostate cancer page.
Colorectal Cancer is the third most common cause of cancer deaths in men and women and can often go undetected until it has significantly advanced. Early detection is key; more than 90 percent of colorectal cancers can be cured when caught in its earliest stages. Take a look at this downloadable resource for more information or visit our colorectal cancer page.
Lung Cancer is the most common cause of cancer deaths in Louisiana. At least 80 percent of lung cancer deaths are caused by smoking, but nonsmokers are still at risk. Having a first-degree family member with lung cancer roughly doubles the risk of developing lung cancer. Take a look at this downloadable resource for more information or visit our lung cancer page.
If your dad has been diagnosed with prostate cancer, SpaceOAR, a new technology that has revolutionized prostate cancer treatment may be an option. It’s a more comfortable, effective way to receive radiation treatment for the disease. This Father’s Day, take the time to discuss your family history and share this information with the men in your life. Learn more about our upcoming screenings and reduce your risk by visiting our screening calendar.
Quitting tobacco isn’t easy, but it can be done with proven techniques and a personalized support program! It may be the most important decision you’ll make to improve your health – the habit has been linked to 15 different types of cancer, including lung cancer. Many smokers, nearly 70%, want to quit and research shows you can increase your chances of quitting successfully by taking these four steps.
Make the Decision to Quit
- Think about why you want to quit.
- What are your personal reasons for quitting?
- Search for support and resources.
Set a Quit Day and Make a Plan
- Mark your calendar.
- Get rid of tobacco products.
- Stock up on substitutes.
- Decide on tobacco cessation medications.
Deal with Withdrawal
- Avoid temptation.
- Correctly use nicotine replacement medications.
- Change your habits.
- Reward yourself.
Stay Tobacco-free (Maintenance)
- Remember reasons for quitting.
- Recover from slips.
- Be prepared for relapse or difficult situations.
The Cancer Center’s free tobacco cessation program has helped many people kick the habit for good. For more information on the individualized support and services we offer, please call (225) 215-1274.
Monroe native Wanda Poche, who has fought metastatic (advanced Stage IV) lung cancer since fall 2014, says her disease wasn’t responding to chemotherapy, so when her oncologist suggested immunotherapy, she was willing to try it. Now nearly one-and-a-half years after starting an immunotherapy drug, her scans show no evidence of cancer. Wanda is now feeling strong and independent and recently spent Thanksgiving with her brother and his family in Monroe.
“This holiday season will be the best ever because I have so very much to be grateful for,” said Wanda. “In the new year, I want to continue doing what I do best: make people laugh. I also want to travel, dance and fish. I’ve got so much life left to live and with the help of God, Dr. Cataldo and immunotherapy, I’m going to do just that.”
While all drugs come with side effects, immunotherapy is shown to be less harsh than those that accompany other therapies. Still under treatment, Wanda says she has experienced no side effects and believes this new therapy could provide hope for so many other cancer patients in the local area.
Vince Cataldo, MD, is Wanda’s medical oncologist at Mary Bird Perkins – Our Lady of the Lake Cancer Center. He says that he believes the future of cancer treatment is in immunotherapy. Dr. Cataldo was studying at MD Anderson when modern research on immunotherapy began developing. He became fascinated with this approach to treating cancer and is thrilled to offer it to his patients today.
“I see a day when immunotherapy will be the frontline [first] treatment option for many cancer patients with multiple cancer types,” said Dr. Cataldo. “For now, it’s giving physicians another tool for patients who aren’t responding to traditional treatments and providing patients with hope that this could be the answer they’ve been seeking.”
For more information, visit mbpolol.org/immunotherapy.