Hospitals will share expertise and resources to enable early detection, treatment of lung cancer

September 14, 2021 – Northwest Medical Center in Margate, Fla. and Westside Regional Medical Center in Plantation, Fla. announced the launch of their joint multidisciplinary screening program aimed at early detection and treatment of lung cancer. As affiliate hospitals of HCA Healthcare, Northwest and Westside are able to draw upon extensive shared resources, including experts in thoracic surgery, radiation oncology, pathology and radiology, to ensure patients receive the right care at the right time.

Accounting for 23 percent of all cancer-related deaths, lung cancer is the leading cause of death by cancer in the U.S. Early screening can enable the early detection, diagnosis and treatment of the disease, preventing its spread and ultimately improving chances of survival for patients. Recently, millions of preventative health screenings, including lung cancer screenings, were delayed or missed completely due to COVID-19.

Through this new program, physicians can refer their patients who meet the screening criteria or present with additional risk factors for a low dose Computerized Tomography (CT) scan, which will be read by a board-certified radiologist with results sent back to the referring physician. If follow-up care is warranted, an appointment is fast tracked with the appropriate specialist for the level of care needed.

Screening criteria include:

  • Age 55-77
  • Asymptomatic (no signs or symptoms of lung cancer)
  • Tobacco smoking history of at least 30 pack-years (one pack-year = smoking one pack per day for one year; 1 pack = 20 cigarettes)
  • Current smoker or one who has quit within the last 15 years

Additional risk factors include:

  • Family history of lung cancer
  • Personal history of chronic lung disease (COPD, emphysema, bronchitis, pulmonary fibrosis)
  • Personal history of cancer, or jobs that expose you to arsenic, nickel, asbestos, beryllium, soot, cadmium, diesel fumes, chromium, or coal dust

From beginning to end, a dedicated Lung Nodule Nurse Navigator will guide the patient as an important member of their specialized care team. The Nurse Navigator will help facilitate care, including screenings and other diagnostic exams; provide support; address any barriers; and navigate each patient through their journey while keeping their referring physician involved along the way.

“This program is critical to raising awareness and improving access to lung cancer screening in Broward County,” said Menchu Martin, MSN, RN, the Lung Nodule Nurse Navigator for the screening program at Northwest and Westside. “We’re excited to strengthen our partnerships with community physicians to not only proactively detect and treat lung cancer, but to prevent it from claiming more lives.”

In the event of a cancer diagnosis, the Nurse Navigator works in conjunction with a Lung Cancer Navigator through Northwest and Westside’s partnership with Sarah Cannon, powered by HCA Healthcare, to transition the patient to receive oncology services.

Both facilities urge a proactive approach to cancer screening, diagnosis and treatment, noting that the community should be vigilant in monitoring and safeguarding their health.

“It’s important for patients to reach out to their doctors regarding any changes they notice with their health, especially if they meet the criteria for our lung cancer screening program,” said Dr. Neil Galindez, cardiovascular surgeon at Northwest and Westside. “Some symptoms of lung cancer nodules can include a persistent cough, chest pains, coughing up blood, difficulty breathing or swallowing, fatigue, shortness of breath, pneumonia, wheezing, hoarseness, weight loss or loss of appetite. We hope our program will save lives by helping people recognize these signs and take action to safeguard their health.”

About Northwest Medical Center

Northwest Medical Center, an award-winning 289-bed hospital, has faithfully served communities across northern Broward County, South Florida and beyond for more than 30 years. As the only designated ‘Hospital of the Future’ in South Florida, we provide award-winning care using the latest state-of-the-art advancements in medical technology with a focus on excellence in patient safety and care experience. A Joint Commission-accredited hospital and primary stroke center, Northwest Medical Center is best known for its Heart and Vascular Institute; Bariatric Center of Excellence; dedicated Women’s Hospital with maternity services and the only Level III NICU in northern Broward County; 24/7 emergency medicine; minimally invasive robotic-assisted surgery; orthopedic, spine and neurological care, and more. Northwest Medical Center is training the next generation of physicians as a teaching hospital with a growing Graduate Medical Education (GME) program with specialized programs in internal medicine, podiatry, general surgery, anesthesia and pathology.

About Westside Regional Medical Center

Westside Regional Medical Center, an award-winning 250-bed hospital, is recognized for providing a wide array of services to the residents of Broward County, South Florida and visitors from around the world. We offer 24-hour comprehensive medical, surgical and diagnostic services, including oncology, cardiology and emergency care. Westside Regional also offers the community with the latest in minimally invasive spine and colorectal surgery and is one of only nine Joint Commission certified centers in the United States for minimally invasive colorectal surgery. Not only is Westside Regional certified as a Comprehensive Stroke Center by the Agency for Health Care Administration (ACHA), but it also received its Thrombectomy Capable Center certification from the Joint Commission. Westside Regional Medical Center is also a teaching and research facility, offering Graduate Medical Education (GME) programs in podiatry, surgery and internal medicine. For over 45 years, Westside Regional Medical Center has been committed to expanding and improving every facet of the organization, devoting significant time and resources to enhancing the facility, staff and medical care. Westside Regional Medical Center has an outstanding staff, which includes physicians, specialists and employees, all of whom place importance in making their patients feel welcome and comfortable.

Northwest Medical Center and Westside Regional Medical Center are facilities of HCA East Florida. HCA East Florida is the largest healthcare system in Eastern Florida and an affiliate of Hospital Corporation of America (HCA). HCA East Florida has 14 hospitals, multiple ambulatory surgery centers, physician practices, and free standing emergency care facilities, as well as a supply chain center and an integrated regional lab. Together, HCA East Florida employs more than 18,000 employees and has nearly 7,000 physicians on staff. For more information, visit HCAEastFlorida.com.

-HCA EAST FLORIDA-

Aventura Hospital and Medical Center + Highlands Regional Medical Center + JFK Medical Center + JFK Medical Center North Campus + Kendall Regional Medical Center + Lawnwood Regional Medical Center + Mercy Hospital + Northwest Medical Center + Palms West Hospital + Plantation General Hospital + Raulerson Hospital + St. Lucie Medical Center + University Hospital and Medical Center + Westside Regional Medical Center