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Lung Cancer

Baptist Health System offers a potential life-saving opportunity for current and former smokers through the South Texas Lung Institute's (STLI) screening program. The goal is to help individuals at high risk for lung cancer receive diagnosis and treatment for their disease at an early stage, when it may be easier to treat and possibly cure.

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What is a Lung Cancer Screening?

A lung cancer screening consists of a low dose, non-contrast computerized tomography (CT) scan. The scan looks for signs of lung cancer before you feel symptoms from the disease, and may allow for earlier diagnosis and treatment. 

Why is Lung Cancer Screening Important? 

Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer death among men and women in the United States. Traditionally, lung cancer has been undetectable until it has reached a late, and often incurable stage. However, with advances in technology and cancer research, there are now proven effective ways to screen for lung cancer at its earliest stages. Early detection is important because it can allow for earlier treatment and may increase the chance of survival. 

Who Can Participate? 

Screening criteria is based on the National Comprehensive Cancer Network guidelines, which considers the following individuals to be at risk: 

  • Current or former smokers ages 55-77 showing no signs or symptoms of lung cancer, who have a history of smoking 1 pack a day for at least 30 years OR current or former smokers with a history of smoking 2 packs a day for at least 15 years
  • Former smoker that quite within the last 15 years
  • People over 50 years of age and above with a history of smoking 1 pack a day for at least 20 years and have one of the following risk factors:
    • COPD or pulmonary fibrosis
    • Radon exposure
    • Occupational exposure to asbestos, silica, cadmium, arsenic, beryllium, chromium, diesel fumes or nickel
    • Personal or family history of cancer

How do I Schedule a Screening? 

If you feel you meet the criteria, please contact STLI at (210)297-LUNG (5864) for evaluation and CT scan scheduling. Each participating center will send copies of the screening results to the referring primary care physician and the STLI Navigator. The Navigator will work the STLI tumor council to recommend next steps for the care of the patient to the primary care physician. Excellent, timely communication with our referring physicians is a key priority of the Institute.

About the South Texas Lung Institute 

The South Texas Lung Institute provides a high quality, multi-disciplinary collaboration of area physicians and health care resources to provide a well-coordinated lung cancer treatment program at St. Luke's Baptist Hospital. Our group of multi-disciplinary, board certified physicians includes:

  • Medical Oncologist: Internal medicine physician with additional specialty training in the management of cancer patients. Medical oncologists help with planning the optimal sequence of treatment for individuals, and are responsible for long term follow ups and surveillance of cancer status. 
  • Radiation Oncologist: Physician specialist with expertise in radiation therapy, used to destroy cancer cells. There are many applications of radiation therapy which require careful planning and coordination with other treatments. The goal is to optimize the benefit of radiation therapy for cancer patients. 
  • Thoracic Surgeons: Surgeon with additional specialty training in surgery of the lung, esophagus, and other internal organs in the chest. 
  • Pulmonologist: Internal medicine physician with specialized training in diagnosis and treatment of lung and respiratory diseases. These physicians are a key component in optimizing lung health for our patients before and after therapy for cancer. 
  • Radiologist: Physician trained in the interpretation of imaging studies of the body, such as x-rays, CT scans, MRIs, and PET scans. Radiologists play an important role in the proper staging, follow up, and measurement of a patient's response to cancer therapy. 
  • Pathologist: Physician specialist who confirms a tissue diagnosis of cancer and determines characteristics of the disease in a patients. Pathologists are able to share information with the treatment team about what type of cancer the patient has and how it may behave. 
STLI is the first initiative in South Texas to offer a navigated program with one call access, so high risk individuals can be referred to the correct resource in a timely fashion. If patients meet the criteria, the STLI navigator will schedule a screening. 


Lung Cancer Stories

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