Lung Cancer Screening

at Virtua Saves Lives

A Better View

New screening program finds cancer earlier and can save lives

There’s no lump, no distinguishing mark, no telltale sign. Lung cancer doesn’t work that way. The signs and symptoms of lung cancer can take years to develop and they may not appear until the disease is advanced. That is one reason lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer death among both men and women, according to the American Lung Association.

Now, a simple screening to detect lung cancer earlier, at a more treatable stage, is available through the Virtua Cancer Program.

Using low dose CT imaging, lung cancer screenings provide a more detailed view of the lungs than X-rays can. An eight-year National Cancer Institute research study showed this test could reduce lung cancer deaths by 20 percent.

For Richard Rivera, a smoker for 37 years, facing the screening results was daunting; he was curious but afraid of a cancer diagnosis. With encouragement from family and friends, Rivera came to Virtua to face his fears.

“You need to find out for yourself and for your family,” said Rivera. “Your choices affect the lives of those around you and you can’t let your fear get in the way of knowing.”

He was cancer free and since the test has quit smoking and started going to the gym.

“I’m glad I went through with it. I needed to give myself the peace of mind,” said Rivera.

Since the lung screening program launched at Virtua in early 2014, more than 100 people have been screened. Three were diagnosed with lung cancer – a relatively high rate, says Lisa Shalkowski, director of oncology services at Virtua.

Because this is a new test, most healthcare insurance providers and Medicare do not cover it. Until they do, Virtua will perform screenings on patients that meet specific criteria for discounted fee of $150. Gifts to Virtua Foundation in support of the program help cover the fee for individuals at high risk who cannot afford the cost, ensuring all residents have access to the life-saving screening.

In 2013, Virtua Garden State Pulmonary Associates, a Virtua Foundation Physician Partner in Philanthropy, made a gift to support the lung program.

“Providing screenings gives physicians and patients powerful knowledge that will result in lives being saved,” said Roman Krol, Md, FCCP, a physician with Virtua Garden State Pulmonary Associates.

All proceeds from Virtua Foundation’s 36th Annual Dr. Wm. V. McDonnell Golf Invitational will be used to fund construction of a bronchoscopy suite at Virtua Voorhees where the screening tests will be performed. The addition of the suite will allow for expanded treatment options related to this program.

How the program works

Because this is so new, most healthcare insurance providers and Medicare do not cover this screening. Virtua will offer screenings to those patients that meet the screening criteria for $150. The discounted fee will only be offered to those meeting the strict screening criteria. The test requires an order from a physician, which may be provided by a primary care specialist or a lung specialist.

>>> For more information including what you should discuss first with your physician, visit


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