Prevention

Lung cancer early detection and prevention

The Lung Cancer Early Detection and Prevention Clinic (LCEDPC) at Seattle Cancer Care Alliance (SCCA) sees patients with abnormal lung findings. These include lung nodules (“spots” on the lung) found in routine imaging — like chest X-rays or computed tomography (CT) scans — or in lung cancer screening CTs. Up to 25 percent of patients may have abnormalities found through lung imaging; however, most of these are not lung cancer.

If the findings are lung cancer, we will guide you through the diagnosis and treatment process. The best success against lung cancer is early diagnosis and treatment, when survival rates can be greater than 80 percent.

Our team includes pulmonologists, chest radiologists, chest surgeons and other lung cancer experts, all here to help you move forward.

Computed tomography A procedure that uses a computer linked to an X-ray machine to make a series of detailed pictures of areas inside the body. The pictures are used to create three-dimensional (3-D) views of tissues and organs. A procedure that uses a computer linked to an X-ray machine to make a series of detailed pictures of areas inside the body. The pictures are taken from different angles and are used to create three-dimensional (3-D) views of tissues and organs. A dye may be injected into a vein or swallowed to help the tissues and organs show up more clearly. This scan may be used to help diagnose disease, plan treatment or find out how well treatment is working. Imaging In medicine, a process that makes pictures of areas inside the body. Imaging uses methods such as X-rays (high-energy radiation), ultrasound (high-energy sound waves) and radio waves. Radiologist A physician who has special training in creating and interpreting pictures of areas inside the body. The pictures are made with X-rays, sound waves or other types of energy. Screening Checking for disease when there are no symptoms. Because screening may find diseases at an early stage, there may be a better chance of curing the disease Checking for disease when there are no symptoms. Because screening may find diseases at an early stage, there may be a better chance of curing the disease. Examples of cancer screening tests are the mammogram (for breast cancer), colonoscopy (for colon cancer) and Pap and HPV tests (for cervical cancer). Screening can also include a genetic test to check for a person’s risk of developing an inherited disease.
“Detecting lung cancer early is essential to save lives. Our team of international experts is unparalleled, and I’m exceptionally proud of the care we provide. In our clinic, we provide patients with a comprehensive plan to manage their lung findings with confidence.”
— Matthew Triplette, MD, MPH, pulmonologist, Medical Director LCEDPC

Clinic overview

The Lung Cancer Early Detection and Prevention Clinic has expertise in the management of lung nodules and other abnormalities. For patients who have lung nodules, we provide multidisciplinary guidance and access to the latest technology for diagnosis with advanced bronchoscopy techniques (inserting a tube through your nose or mouth), including endobronchial ultrasound-guided biopsy (EBUS) and electromagnetic navigational bronchoscopy. 

For patients at high risk of lung cancer, we also offer lung cancer screening using state-of-the-art imaging technologies based on the latest national guidelines. During your visit, you will meet with our dedicated providers, who will help make the best plan for you. And, if appropriate, we can call on other medical specialists from throughout SCCA to offer their expertise surrounding your care.

If you smoke, we have access to resources that can help you quit and adopt a healthier lifestyle, which helps improve your overall health. We are proud to be a National Cancer Institute Cancer Center Cessation Initiative-awarded site, which means we are national leaders when it comes to smoking cessation

Learn More About SCCA's Living Tobacco-Free Services
 

Biopsy The removal of a sample of tissue or fluid that is examined to see whether cancer is present. This may be done with a large needle or through surgical removal of tissue or fluids. Bronchoscopy A procedure to examine the inside of the trachea, bronchi (air passages that lead to the lungs) and lungs. Uses a thin, tube-like instrument called a bronchoscope. A procedure that uses a bronchoscope to examine the inside of the trachea, bronchi (air passages that lead to the lungs) and lungs. A bronchoscope is a thin, tube-like instrument with a light and a lens for viewing. It may also have a tool to remove tissue to be checked under a microscope for signs of disease. The bronchoscope is inserted through the nose or mouth. Bronchoscopy may be used to detect cancer or to perform some treatment procedures. Imaging In medicine, a process that makes pictures of areas inside the body. Imaging uses methods such as X-rays (high-energy radiation), ultrasound (high-energy sound waves) and radio waves. Screening Checking for disease when there are no symptoms. Because screening may find diseases at an early stage, there may be a better chance of curing the disease Checking for disease when there are no symptoms. Because screening may find diseases at an early stage, there may be a better chance of curing the disease. Examples of cancer screening tests are the mammogram (for breast cancer), colonoscopy (for colon cancer) and Pap and HPV tests (for cervical cancer). Screening can also include a genetic test to check for a person’s risk of developing an inherited disease. Smoking cessation To quit smoking. Counseling, behavior therapy, medicines and nicotine-containing products, such as nicotine patches, gum, lozenges, inhalers and nasal sprays, can all help a person quit smoking. To quit smoking. Smoking cessation lowers the risk of cancer and other serious health problems. Counseling, behavior therapy, medicines and nicotine-containing products, such as nicotine patches, gum, lozenges, inhalers and nasal sprays, can all help a person quit smoking. Ultrasound A procedure that uses high-energy sound waves to look at tissues and organs inside the body. The sound waves make echoes that form pictures of the tissues and organs on a computer screen. A procedure that uses high-energy sound waves to look at tissues and organs inside the body. The sound waves make echoes that form pictures of the tissues and organs on a computer screen (sonogram). Ultrasound may be used to help diagnose diseases, such as cancer. It may also be used during pregnancy to check the fetus (unborn baby) and during medical procedures, such as biopsies. Also called ultrasonography.
SCCA Lung Cancer Early Detection and Prevention Clinic
phone (206) 606-6125
Monday–Friday, 7:30 am–4:30 pm
fax (206) 606-6135
Who do we see at the clinic?

We work with people like you who have been referred to us by their primary care physician or by another medical provider — often from within SCCA, the University of Washington Medical Center or other medical systems in the Seattle area. Or, if you have concerns or believe you may benefit from seeing our providers, you can contact us directly. 

You may need the services of our clinic if:

  • You have recently been told that you have a pulmonary nodule, a lung mass or enlarged lymph nodes around your lungs, which might be signs of lung cancer or other serious disease.
  • You have been told that you may qualify for lung cancer screening and would like to discuss this with an expert provider.
  • You would like to discuss your risk of lung cancer.
  • You had a lung cancer screening CT that shows abnormalities
Computed tomography A procedure that uses a computer linked to an X-ray machine to make a series of detailed pictures of areas inside the body. The pictures are used to create three-dimensional (3-D) views of tissues and organs. A procedure that uses a computer linked to an X-ray machine to make a series of detailed pictures of areas inside the body. The pictures are taken from different angles and are used to create three-dimensional (3-D) views of tissues and organs. A dye may be injected into a vein or swallowed to help the tissues and organs show up more clearly. This scan may be used to help diagnose disease, plan treatment or find out how well treatment is working. Nodule A growth or lump that may be malignant (cancer) or benign (not cancer). Screening Checking for disease when there are no symptoms. Because screening may find diseases at an early stage, there may be a better chance of curing the disease Checking for disease when there are no symptoms. Because screening may find diseases at an early stage, there may be a better chance of curing the disease. Examples of cancer screening tests are the mammogram (for breast cancer), colonoscopy (for colon cancer) and Pap and HPV tests (for cervical cancer). Screening can also include a genetic test to check for a person’s risk of developing an inherited disease. Sign In medicine, a sign is something found during a physical exam or from a laboratory test that shows that a person may have a condition or disease. In medicine, a sign is something found during a physical exam or from a laboratory test that shows that a person may have a condition or disease. Some examples of signs are fever, swelling, skin rash, high blood pressure and high blood glucose.
If you have a pulmonary nodule

Most patients who visit our clinic have what is known as a pulmonary nodule — a small, round growth on the lung. Most pulmonary nodules are too small (less than one centimeter across) to be diagnosed safely and accurately using any of the procedures or tests currently available. Because these very small pulmonary nodules might mean early lung cancer, they need to be watched closely, using CT scans, to see whether they grow over time. If the size of these nodules doesn’t change for two years, the chance that they are lung cancer is very small.

If a repeat scan shows that the nodule is growing, we might schedule you for a type of imaging test called a positron emission tomography (PET) scan and/or take a sample (biopsy) of the nodule to check for cancer cells. 

Computed tomography A procedure that uses a computer linked to an X-ray machine to make a series of detailed pictures of areas inside the body. The pictures are used to create three-dimensional (3-D) views of tissues and organs. A procedure that uses a computer linked to an X-ray machine to make a series of detailed pictures of areas inside the body. The pictures are taken from different angles and are used to create three-dimensional (3-D) views of tissues and organs. A dye may be injected into a vein or swallowed to help the tissues and organs show up more clearly. This scan may be used to help diagnose disease, plan treatment or find out how well treatment is working. Imaging In medicine, a process that makes pictures of areas inside the body. Imaging uses methods such as X-rays (high-energy radiation), ultrasound (high-energy sound waves) and radio waves. Nodule A growth or lump that may be malignant (cancer) or benign (not cancer).

What happens at your visit

Before your visit, a pulmonologist and a chest radiologist will review your medical records, including X-rays or imaging scans, if you have been diagnosed with a pulmonary nodule or another abnormality that might be a sign of lung cancer.

When you visit, you’ll meet with members of our clinic team, including a pulmonologist. We’ll discuss your results and work with you to build a personalized prevention plan. Your appointment will last about one to two hours.

Imaging In medicine, a process that makes pictures of areas inside the body. Imaging uses methods such as X-rays (high-energy radiation), ultrasound (high-energy sound waves) and radio waves. Nodule A growth or lump that may be malignant (cancer) or benign (not cancer). Pulmonologist A physician who has special training in diagnosing and treating diseases of the lungs. Radiologist A physician who has special training in creating and interpreting pictures of areas inside the body. The pictures are made with X-rays, sound waves or other types of energy. Sign In medicine, a sign is something found during a physical exam or from a laboratory test that shows that a person may have a condition or disease. In medicine, a sign is something found during a physical exam or from a laboratory test that shows that a person may have a condition or disease. Some examples of signs are fever, swelling, skin rash, high blood pressure and high blood glucose.
What is included in my personalized prevention plan?
  • Strategies to lower your lung cancer risk
  • Information about clinical trials you are eligible to participate in through SCCA and our partners at Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center and UW Medicine
  • Schedules for when you should have imaging and/or diagnostic tests 
Clinical trial A type of research study that tests how well new medical approaches work in people. These studies test new methods of screening, prevention, diagnosis or treatment of a disease. Imaging In medicine, a process that makes pictures of areas inside the body. Imaging uses methods such as X-rays (high-energy radiation), ultrasound (high-energy sound waves) and radio waves.
How can I better understand my condition or reduce my risk?

Here are some examples of strategies that may be part of your personalized prevention plan.

To monitor for lung cancer:

  • Regular low-dose computed tomography (CT) scans

If you need a biopsy:

  • Navigational bronchoscopy
  • Endobronchial ultrasound (EBUS)
  • Needle biopsy

If you need help quitting tobacco:

Biopsy The removal of a sample of tissue or fluid that is examined to see whether cancer is present. This may be done with a large needle or through surgical removal of tissue or fluids. Computed tomography A procedure that uses a computer linked to an X-ray machine to make a series of detailed pictures of areas inside the body. The pictures are used to create three-dimensional (3-D) views of tissues and organs. A procedure that uses a computer linked to an X-ray machine to make a series of detailed pictures of areas inside the body. The pictures are taken from different angles and are used to create three-dimensional (3-D) views of tissues and organs. A dye may be injected into a vein or swallowed to help the tissues and organs show up more clearly. This scan may be used to help diagnose disease, plan treatment or find out how well treatment is working. Ultrasound A procedure that uses high-energy sound waves to look at tissues and organs inside the body. The sound waves make echoes that form pictures of the tissues and organs on a computer screen. A procedure that uses high-energy sound waves to look at tissues and organs inside the body. The sound waves make echoes that form pictures of the tissues and organs on a computer screen (sonogram). Ultrasound may be used to help diagnose diseases, such as cancer. It may also be used during pregnancy to check the fetus (unborn baby) and during medical procedures, such as biopsies. Also called ultrasonography.
If your screening does not have findings related to lung cancer

If we make a diagnosis other than lung cancer, we may refer you back to your primary care provider for treatment; our Living Tobacco-Free Services program for help with quitting smoking; or surveillance (ongoing monitoring) at the Lung Cancer Early Detection and Prevention Clinic. You may also be able to participate in lung cancer early-detection studies and help us discover better ways to find lung cancer earlier.

Surveillance Closely watching a patient’s condition but not treating it unless there are changes in test results. Surveillance is also used to find early signs that a disease has come back. In medicine, surveillance means closely watching a patient’s condition but not treating it unless there are changes in test results. Surveillance is also used to find early signs that a disease has come back. It may also be used for a person who has an increased risk of a disease, such as cancer. During surveillance, certain exams and tests are done on a regular schedule. In public health, surveillance may also refer to the ongoing collection of information about a disease, such as cancer, in a certain group of people. The information collected may include where the disease occurs in a population and whether it affects people of a certain gender, age or ethnic group.
If your screening has findings related to lung cancer

If your screening has an abnormality, we will decide the best approach to determine if you have lung cancer and quickly diagnose and stage the disease. Then you can move on to planning your lung cancer treatment with SCCA’s team of world-class physicians, including specialists in pulmonary medicine, thoracic surgery, medical oncology and radiation oncology. You will have access to the full spectrum of lung cancer treatment options, including innovative therapies available in clinical studies.  

Clinical trial A type of research study that tests how well new medical approaches work in people. These studies test new methods of screening, prevention, diagnosis or treatment of a disease. Screening Checking for disease when there are no symptoms. Because screening may find diseases at an early stage, there may be a better chance of curing the disease Checking for disease when there are no symptoms. Because screening may find diseases at an early stage, there may be a better chance of curing the disease. Examples of cancer screening tests are the mammogram (for breast cancer), colonoscopy (for colon cancer) and Pap and HPV tests (for cervical cancer). Screening can also include a genetic test to check for a person’s risk of developing an inherited disease. Stage The extent of a cancer in the body. Staging is usually based on the size of the tumor, whether lymph nodes contain cancer and whether the cancer has spread from the original site to other parts of the body. Thoracic Having to do with the chest.

Care team

The Lung Cancer Early Detection and Prevention Clinic team is made up of experts from a variety of specialties within SCCA.

Pulmonologist

A pulmonologist is a physician who specializes in preventing and treating lung cancer and other respiratory diseases such as asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).  

Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease A type of lung disease marked by permanent damage to tissues in the lungs, making it hard to breathe. It develops over many years and is usually caused by cigarette smoking. Also called COPD. A type of lung disease marked by permanent damage to tissues in the lungs, making it hard to breathe. Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease includes chronic bronchitis, in which the bronchi (large air passages) are inflamed and scarred, and emphysema, in which the alveoli (tiny air sacs) are damaged. It develops over many years and is usually caused by cigarette smoking. Also called COPD. Pulmonologist A physician who has special training in diagnosing and treating diseases of the lungs.
Chest radiologist

This physician reads and interprets your imaging tests. They also do some types of biopsies. Your chest radiologist will:

  • Look for abnormal areas on images from tests like CT scans and X-rays. 
  • “Decode” the meaning of your images and recommend whether you should have more imaging, a biopsy or other care.
  • Do a biopsy, often guided by an X-ray or ultrasound.
Biopsy The removal of a sample of tissue or fluid that is examined to see whether cancer is present. This may be done with a large needle or through surgical removal of tissue or fluids. Biopsy The removal of a sample of tissue or fluid that is examined to see whether cancer is present. This may be done with a large needle or through surgical removal of tissue or fluids. Computed tomography A procedure that uses a computer linked to an X-ray machine to make a series of detailed pictures of areas inside the body. The pictures are used to create three-dimensional (3-D) views of tissues and organs. A procedure that uses a computer linked to an X-ray machine to make a series of detailed pictures of areas inside the body. The pictures are taken from different angles and are used to create three-dimensional (3-D) views of tissues and organs. A dye may be injected into a vein or swallowed to help the tissues and organs show up more clearly. This scan may be used to help diagnose disease, plan treatment or find out how well treatment is working. Imaging In medicine, a process that makes pictures of areas inside the body. Imaging uses methods such as X-rays (high-energy radiation), ultrasound (high-energy sound waves) and radio waves. Radiologist A physician who has special training in creating and interpreting pictures of areas inside the body. The pictures are made with X-rays, sound waves or other types of energy. Ultrasound A procedure that uses high-energy sound waves to look at tissues and organs inside the body. The sound waves make echoes that form pictures of the tissues and organs on a computer screen. A procedure that uses high-energy sound waves to look at tissues and organs inside the body. The sound waves make echoes that form pictures of the tissues and organs on a computer screen (sonogram). Ultrasound may be used to help diagnose diseases, such as cancer. It may also be used during pregnancy to check the fetus (unborn baby) and during medical procedures, such as biopsies. Also called ultrasonography.
Registered nurse

Your nurse manages your care alongside your physician. They also assist with procedures and treatments. Nurses are resources for you and your caregiver. They can answer questions and help with a wide range of topics, like how to cope with side effects or how to get other services you need at SCCA.

Caregiver A person who gives care to people who need help, such as children, older people or patients who have chronic illnesses or disabilities. A person who gives care to people who need help taking care of themselves, such as children, older people or patients who have chronic illnesses or disabilities. Caregivers may be health professionals, family members, friends, social workers or members of the clergy. They may give care at home, in a hospital or in another health care setting. Side effects A problem that occurs when treatment affects healthy tissues or organs. Some side effects of cancer treatment are nausea, vomiting, fatigue, pain, decreased blood cell counts, hair loss and mouth sores.
Team coordinator

Your team coordinator works closely with you and your doctor. They serve as your scheduler.

Find care team profiles

Meet the caring, dedicated people who take care of you and your family at SCCA.

Guang-Shing  Cheng, MD
Guang-Shing Cheng, MD
Physician
Pulmonology
Farhood  Farjah, MD
Farhood Farjah, MD
Physician
Surgery
A. McGarry Houghton, MD
A. McGarry Houghton, MD
Physician
Pulmonology
Viswam S. Nair, MD, MS
Viswam S. Nair, MD, MS
Physician
Pulmonology
Matthew  Triplette, MD, MPH
Matthew Triplette, MD, MPH
Physician
Pulmonology
Douglas  Wood, MD
Douglas Wood, MD
Physician
Surgery