Lung nodules – small masses of tissue in the lung – are quite common. Many nodules are benign, but your doctor will determine the best methods for diagnosing, monitoring and treating a lung abnormality.

The UCHealth Lung Nodule Clinic at Memorial is designed to rule out the most serious conditions quickly, and to provide ongoing follow-up if necessary. Memorial’s clinic exceeds the national benchmarks for diagnosing and treating newly found lung nodules. We know that connecting patients quickly to treatment and resources is critical if a serious condition exists.

Our team includes a range of specialists, including pulmonologists, thoracic surgeons and thoracic nurse navigators.

What is a lung nodule?

A lung nodule is a “spot on the lung” that is identified on an X-ray or on a computed tomography (CT) scan. Nodules appear on about one in every 500 chest X-rays. In many cases lung nodules are benign, or non-cancerous.

Patients at the UCHealth Lung Nodule Clinic benefit from the highest quality radiology and imaging services provided by Memorial Hospital.

Nurse Navigation

Memorial Hospital’s nurse navigators are specially-trained oncology nurses who are experts in cancer treatment, cancer treatment planning, cancer information and personal support. Memorial’s nurse navigators have extensive knowledge of local and national cancer assistance resources and are dedicated to providing the patient and patient’s family with the support and guidance they need. Lisa Allison and Joshua Caiyem are dedicated to the lung cancer program.

Lung Cancer Screening Program

For patients who are considered at-risk based on their tobacco use, screening reduces lung cancer mortality by 20 percent, according to the National Lung Screening Trial.

Now you can be screened for lung cancer through UCHealth. Knowing your status means you can take steps to treat or beat lung cancer. Or, have the peace of mind to know that you’re cancer-free.

You should consider lung cancer screening, if:

  • You are 55 to 77 years old.
  • You are a current smoker or a former smoker who quit less than 15 years ago.
  • You have a smoking history of at least 30 pack-years (this means one pack per day for 30 years, two packs a day for 15 years, etc.)

Questions and answers

What are screenings? Screening is looking for a disease before a person has any symptoms.

Why isn’t everyone screened? There are benefits but also risks to lung cancer screening. The specialists at UCHealth can review these risks and also assist you in your decision to get screened, if you meet the criteria where screening may be a benefit to you.

Is there a cost for screening? Most insurance carriers will approve a screening exam. The exam at UCHealth will be authorized with your insurance to make sure you are covered prior to lung cancer screening.

How is a lung cancer screening performed? A low-dose chest Computerized Tomography scan (CT scan) is used to give a detailed picture of the lungs. This test does not require any prior preparation. You will lie on a table with your arms above your head, and the table will slide into the CT scanner.