St. Augustine Woman's Journal - Educational Resource to the Women of St. Johns County Since 2009

Flagler Hospital 

Flagler Hospital Designated a Lung Cancer Screening Center by the American College of Radiology


April 1, 2017 | View PDF

Lung cancer is one of the most frequent diagnosed malignancies at Flagler Hospital. Reducing mortality rates from advanced lung cancer is an established goal for St. Johns County, as identified in the Health Leadership Council's community health needs assessment. In an effort to identify high-risk patients early, the hospital's cancer committee voted in 2015 to move forward with the mplementation of lung cancer screening at Flagler Hospital.

In 2016, Flagler Hospital was designated a Lung Cancer Screening Center by the American College of Radiology (ACR). ACR Lung Cancer Screening Center designation recognizes facilities that have committed to practice safe, effective diagnostic care for individuals at the highest risk for lung cancer.

"We are always looking at ways to improve the health of the residents in our community, and we know that lung cancer is one of the leading causes of premature death in St. Johns County," said Flagler Hospital President and CEO Joe Gordy. "The speed at which we were able to put this program together and earn this national designation is yet another testament to the collaborative relationship we have with our medical staff and our leadership team - all aimed at meeting our community's needs."

In order to receive this elite distinction, facilities must be accredited by the ACR in computed tomography in the chest module, as well as undergo a rigorous assessment of its lung cancer screening protocol and infrastructure. Also required are procedures in place for follow-up patient care, such as counseling and smoking cessation programs.

"Lung cancer screening with low dose CT removes the fatalistic belief many share - that if they have smoked for many years, there is no use in trying to quit now, " commented Dr. James Builteman, an area radiologist who led this initiative. "These screenings can help individuals retake control of their destiny. Quitting smoking not only reduces one's chances of lung cancer but just as importantly stroke, heart attack, and peripheral vascular disease."

In December 2013, the United States Preventive Services Task Force recommended screening of adults aged 55 to 80 years who have a 30 pack-year smoking history and currently smoke or have quit within the past 15 years. Lung cancer is the nation's leading cancer killer – taking the lives of more people each year than breast, colon and prostate cancers combined.

Flagler Hospital offers free quit smoking classes. The group sessions take place in the Flagler Wellness Center once a week, for one hour, over a six week period. Each week covers a different topic such as nicotine replacement therapy, stress reduction and relaxation techniques and identifying smoking triggers. Written material is provided, a toll free Quit Line is available, and people can re-enter the program as many times as necessary. Call 904-819-4338 for more information on this free course.

ABOUT Lung Cancer Screening Who is eligible for screening? Lung cancer screening is not appropriate for everybody; you qualify for screening if you:

• Are between 55-77 years old

• Have smoked within the last 15 years, and

• Have smoked 30-pack-years or more (A pack year is used to describe how many cigarettes you have smoked in your lifetime, with a pack equal to 20 cigarettes. For example, if you have smoked 2 packs a day for 15 years, you have 30 pack years)

Darlene (pictured below) was referred for lung cancer screening by her primary care physician when he learned about her smoking history. She says she began smoking when she was 21 “because everybody smoked in the sixties” and she continued to smoke for years. She has had two annual screenings so far and will return for another visit in six months. Darleen shared that the process is very easy and provides peace of mind.

“I enjoy the staff there very much. The young ladies who screened me were fantastic and did four different tests in just over an hour,” she said.

Darlene also recommends that others start seeing a primary care doctor regularly if they don’t already. She says she has adopted a healthier lifestyle, quit drinking soda, is watching what she eats and has lost 40 lbs.

Flagler Hospital is a 335 bed, acute care hospital that has consistently ranked among the top hospitals in the nation by leading ratings agencies. The hospital has operated as a not-for-profit healthcare institution in St. Augustine, Florida since its founding in 1889. Flagler Hospital's focus on quality has resulted in numerous national accreditations including, designation as a Chest Pain Center by the Society of Chest Pain Centers, ANCC Magnet Status for Nursing Excellence, the Gold Seal of Approval™ from The Joint Commission for Primary Stroke Care Centers, National accreditation for its total hip and total knee replacement programs and accreditation of its Cancer Institute by the Commission on Cancer. To learn more about all of the hospital's services log on to


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