Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center

Lung Cancer Screening

The Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine announced its ongoing lung cancer screening program based on the recent announcement by the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF). The Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center team has been a participant in research studies involving CT screening for lung cancer for more than 10 years.

The USPSTF issued a recommendation giving its second highest approval rating for computed tomography (CT) screenings for lung cancer for those at high risk, a move that if approved in final form, will trigger Medicare and insurance coverage and bring about a dramatic drop in the leading cause of cancer deaths. Based on the available evidence, the Task Force recommends screening people who are at high risk for lung cancer with annual low-dose CT scans, which can prevent a substantial number of lung cancer related deaths.

Lung cancer is the #1 cancer killer in the United States today. Lung cancer kills more people than breast, cervical, colon, and prostate cancer combined, and often does not show any symptoms until the disease is in late stage. Physicians and scientists at Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center are working to change these outcomes. Because a delay in detection results in the current poor survival of lung cancer patients, early detection of lung cancer is a critical need.

“We are now able to provide a screening tool for lung cancer much like mammogram and colonoscopy screenings that are used for finding breast and colon cancers,” says Richard Thurer, M.D., Cardiothoracic Surgeon at Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center. “By screening those at high risk, we can find lung cancer at earlier stages when it is more likely to be curable.”

The National Lung Screening Trial (NLST) demonstrated a 20% decrease in lung cancer related mortality in current and former smokers. The screening program is available to smokers between the ages of 40 to 85, with a 30 pack-a-year history and either are currently smoking or have quit smoking within the past 15 years.

High quality lung cancer screening programs require a comprehensive program that teams experts in radiology, pathology, thoracic surgery, radiation oncology, pulmonary medicine and medical oncology and who have developed a step-by-step program to better detect and treat lung cancer.

The Lung Cancer Screening Group at Sylvester includes:

Richard J. Thurer MD, Thoracic Surgeon
Dao Nguyen MD, Thoracic Surgeon
Nestor Villamizar-Ortiz MD, Thoracic Surgeon
Gregory Holt MD, Pulmonologist
Elio Donna MD, Pulmonologist
Marie J. Charles, ARNP

The Lung Cancer Screening Group at Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center is working to change lung cancer statistics. For more information, please call Marie Charles at 305-243-9069 or email at