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Dr. Hazem Raslan: Cancer screenings are more important for some patients

Better than the national average: CT lung cancer screening at Corewell Health’s Beaumont Hospitals in Trenton and Wayne lead to early detection, potential cure

By Deanna Lites

Each year, more people die of lung cancer than of colon, breast and prostate cancers combined according to the American Cancer Society. But a CT lung cancer screening can help change that.

"The whole idea of the lung nodule clinic is to diagnose lung cancer as soon as possible so that treatment can get started as soon as possible," said Dr. Hazem Raslan, director of Corewell Health’s Beaumont Hospital Lung Nodule Clinics in Trenton and Wayne. "If you treat the cancer early enough to surgically remove the lesion, it could potentially cure the patient of the disease."

Lung cancer screenings also help doctors identify and monitor small nodules on the lung.

"We keep a close eye on the nodules because 90% of them are benign, but those 10% could change course," Dr. Raslan said. "Our job is to identify them and work on them as soon as possible."

In 2022, about 530 patients were screened for lung nodules: 193 patients at Corewell Health's Beaumont Hospital, Wayne, and 337 patients at Corewell Health's Beaumont Hospital, Trenton.

“Of those patients, 44 were diagnosed with lung cancer. And 31 out of the 44 patients were in the early stages of lung cancer, which includes cancer at stages 1, 2 or 3A, making them potential surgical candidates,” Dr. Raslan said. “The other 13 patients were found to be in advance stages and were offered treatment with chemo, radiation or palliative care.”

Dr. Raslan explained that 10% of all the lung nodules detected nationwide will turn out to be a lung cancer.

“However, at our lung nodule clinics we were able to catch those lung nodules in the early stages when patients are potential candidates for surgery,” Dr. Raslan said. “That meant that 60% of our patients were potential surgical candidates as opposed to the national average which is 20%, so this is the difference we are proud of.”

According to the 2022 American Lung Association’s State of Lung Cancer report, only about 5.8% of eligible Americans have been screened for lung cancer.

Dr. Raslan said awareness is key when it comes to lung cancer screening.

“Why are we better than the national average?” he said. “We’re able to screen more people by making awareness in the community and with the primary care physicians about the importance of early screenings of lung cancer for those people who are qualified.”

To be eligible for low-dose CT lung cancer screening all the following criteria must be met:

  • Age 50 – 80, asymptomatic (no signs or symptoms of lung cancer)
  • Cigarette smoking history of at least 20 pack years (one pack year = smoking one pack per day for one year; one pack = 20 cigarettes)
  • Current cigarette smoker or has quit smoking within the last 15 years
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