Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center

Lung Cancer Screening

To schedule a lung cancer risk assessment/screening, call or email Marie Charles at 305-243-9069 or email at mcharles4@med.miami.edu.

Lead by a team of experts, with decades of experience in lung cancer diagnosis, Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center was the first lung cancer screening program in South Florida to be sanctioned by the Lung Cancer Alliance. Research has shown that undergoing a lung cancer screening can lead to earlier diagnosis and possibly save your life.
Lung cancer is the number one cause of cancer deaths in the nation and the second leading cause of overall deaths in the United States. Early detection of lung cancer is important because it leads to increased survival rates and a decrease in lung cancer related deaths.

Screenings for cancer means testing for cancer before there are any symptoms. Since symptoms for lung cancer do not normally present until later stages of cancer, screenings are the only way to catch lung cancer in early, more treatable stages. Until now, there has been no approved method for lung cancer screening. But supported by a recent National Cancer Institute study the use of Low Dose Computed Tomography (LDCT) has proven successful, delivering a 20% improvement in lung cancer survival rates and securing the backing of The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF).

Based on this evidence, Sylvester has taken a lead role in perfecting the use of CT Imaging over the past 10 years to detect lung cancer in four of its locations: Miami, Deerfield Beach, Plantation and Kendall. Our CT scanners can obtain multiple images with great speed and precision, allowing patients to spend less time in the radiation scanners, without sacrificing an accurate diagnosis.

Since January 2015, after the USPSTF’s issued recommendation, private insurers began coverage for CT imaging screening for patients at high risk, as a positive step in decreasing the number of lung cancer related deaths. Individuals considered at high risk can be screened and they will receive a LDCT scan if they:

  • are age 55 to 80
  • smoked at least 30 Pack/Years
  • Quit smoking 15 years or less

Others may be eligible for CT screenings if they are ≥ 50 years old and have one of the following additional risk factors:

  • Asbestos-related lung disease or pulmonary asbestosis
  • History of emphysema
  • Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD, emphysema, chronic bronchitis and pulmonary fibrosis)
  • Family history of lung cancer
  • Secondhand smoke exposure (Flight Attendants)

Since February 2015, following the USPSTF recommendation, the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) released its final decision to cover lung cancer screening as well. However their criteria are slightly different than the USPSTF. These high risk patients must be aged 55 to 77 years and in fairly good health, have a smoking history equivalent to a pack a day for 30 years or 2 packs a day for 15 years, and currently smoke or have quit within the past 15 years or less.

For a patient without screening benefits in their insurance policy, the scan would cost $149 out of pocket. CT screening for lung cancer is a major discovery, because it has the potential of finding the cancer earlier, when it’s easier to treat. To benefit from screening, individuals must not have been diagnosed with any type of cancer or must be in remission for 5 years or must be free from signs and symptoms of lung cancer. They must be able to undergo curative surgery. There are some risks associated with CT screening. The risks of lung cancer screening tests include the following:

  • False-negative test results can occur
  • False-positive test results can occur
  • Low-dose spiral CT scans exposes the chest to radiation
  • Anxiety and false alarms and further diagnostic testing can occur

Sylvester’s Lung Cancer Screening Team:
Richard J. Thurer MD, Thoracic Surgeon
Nestor Villamizar-Ortiz MD, Thoracic Surgeon
Dao Nguyen MD, Thoracic Surgeon
Gregory Holt MD, Pulmonologist
Elio Donna MD, Pulmonologist
Joel Fishman MD, Thoracic Radiologist
Humberto O Martinez, Thoracic Radiologist
Eduard Ghersin MD, Thoracic Radiologist
Yoel Siegel MD, Thoracic Radiologist
Marie J. Charles, ARNP-BC

The Lung Cancer Screening Group at Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center is working to change lung cancer statistics. If you are concerned about your risk, please call to speak with a specialist or email to complete a screening risk assessment. For more information contact Marie Charles at 305-243-9069 or email at mcharles4@med.miami.edu

The ACR Lung Cancer Screening Registry (LCSR) is approved by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services to meet Medicare quality reporting requirements. As part of the ACR National Radiology Data Registry (NRDR®), the LCSR leads the effort in developing benchmarks and comparisons to help imaging facilities improve quality of patient care.

ACR Designated Lung Cancer Screening Center means that our facility is recognized as a cscreening center of excellence and meets the highest quality and safety standards in chest CT screening imaging. Earn the ACR Designated Lung Cancer Screening Center status demonstrates to our referrers and patients that we provide safe and effective care.