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SEATTLE – (May 24, 2016) — With lung cancer being the No. 1 cause of cancer deaths in the United States, it is important that adults undergo yearly screening for this disease if they meet the criteria for testing.

An annual lung cancer screening with low-dose computed tomography (CT) scan is recommended for individuals who:

  • Have a history of smoking, and
  • Smoke now or have quit within the past 15 years, and
  • Are between 55 and 77 years old, and
  • Have no cancer symptoms.
Steven H. Kirtland, MD
Steven H. Kirtland, MD

“The earlier that cancer is discovered through the screening process, the greater the chance the potentially deadly disease can be successfully treated,” said Steven Kirtland, MD, pulmonologist and medical director of the lung cancer screening program at the Virginia Mason Cancer Institute. “Lung cancer screening saves lives.”

  • Watch a video of Dr. Kirtland talking about lung cancer screening.

The National Lung Cancer Screening Trial in 2011 showed a 20-percent reduction in lung cancer deaths among individuals who received screening. The survival rate is significantly higher when lung cancer is treated in its earliest stages of development.

“The benefits of low-dose CT lung cancer screening are fairly straightforward,” said Dr. Kirtland. “It leads to identification of more early-state lung cancers and less advanced-stage disease.”

Virginia Mason has provided low-dose CT screenings for at-risk individuals for three years and performs about 200 of these tests annually.

The low-dose CT scan is an outpatient procedure that uses low-dose radiation to make a series of detailed pictures of areas inside the body. The screening at Virginia Mason takes only about five minutes, with test results available in about 24 hours. The screening is safe, with exposure to radiation less than that of two mammograms.

The American Cancer Society projects 224,390 new cases of lung cancer will be confirmed in the United States in 2016 and that 158,000 people will die from the disease this year.

To learn more about lung cancer screening or schedule an appointment at the Virginia Mason Cancer Institute, call (844) 800-2873 toll-free.

About Virginia Mason Health System
Virginia Mason, founded in 1920, is a nonprofit regional health care system based in Seattle that serves the Pacific Northwest. In the Puget Sound region, the system includes 336-bed Virginia Mason Hospital; a primary and specialty care group practice of more than 500 physicians; regional medical centers in Seattle, Bainbridge Island, Bellevue, Federal Way, Kirkland, Issaquah and Lynnwood; Bailey-Boushay House, the first skilled-nursing and outpatient chronic care management program in the U.S. designed and built specifically to meet the needs of people with HIV/AIDS; Benaroya Research Institute, which is internationally recognized for autoimmune disease research; and Virginia Mason Institute, which trains health care professionals and others from around the world in the Virginia Mason Production System, an innovative management methodology for continually improving quality, safety and efficiency. Virginia Mason online:

Virginia Mason also includes Yakima-based Memorial Family of Services and Yakima Valley Memorial Hospital, a 226-bed facility serving the Yakima Valley in Central Washington since 1950. Memorial Family of Services comprises primary care practices and specialty care services, including high quality cardiac care, a continuum of cancer care, hospice care, and advanced services for children with special health care needs. Memorial online:

Media Contact:
Gale Robinette
Media Relations Manager
Virginia Mason Health System
(206) 341-1509

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