Since its 2013 launch, St. Elizabeth’s successful Lung Cancer Screening Program has taken direct aim at the disease in the Northern Kentucky region, completing more than 11,000 screenings and identifying over 100 lung cancers under Stage III, when it’s at its most treatable. But to the Thoracic Oncology Disease Management and Lung Cancer Screening Teams at St. Elizabeth, that wasn’t enough. Noticing a screening gap in those current or former smokers who may be at risk but do not meet typical insurance screening guidelines, St. Elizabeth has decided to expand the Lung Cancer Screening Program with a Retail option. The goal is simple — to reach even more people at risk, catch cancer even earlier anduniv open the door to treatment.
The Retail Lung Cancer Screening Program is the first of its kind in the region, featuring an affordable $99 low-dose CT scan that can identify earliest stage lung cancers for people ages 50–80 years old who fit the following criteria:
• Current or former smoker.
• Have a 20-pack year or greater smoking history (equivalent of one pack of cigarettes per day for 20 years).
• Have at least one additional risk factor such as COPD, pulmonary fibrosis, history of other smoking-related cancers or family history of lung cancer.
• Currently lack any overt signs of lung cancer, such as unexplained weight loss or coughing up blood.
Typically, insurance carriers require those eligible for a lung cancer screening to be a current smoker or someone who has quit within last 15 years, between 55-77 years old with 30-plus pack-year history. The St. Elizabeth Retail Lung Cancer Screening Program broadens the requirements to reach a wider audience of smokers and former smokers.
A Champion for Lung Cancer Screening and Prevention
To lead this expansion for the Lung Cancer Screening Program, Dr. Michael Gieske, a primary care physician at St. Elizabeth Physicians, has been named Medical Director of Lung Cancer Screening.
Dr. Doug Flora, Executive Medical Director of Oncology Services at St. Elizabeth, said “As our lung cancer screening program has grown, we've been increasingly recognized as one of the leaders in these programs at a regional and national level. We've recently restructured leadership, added more staff and infrastructure to support this program. We felt there was no greater way to be right here for the patients of our region than to invest the necessary resources, including naming a recognized national leader in lung cancer screening to lead this important program.”
In addition to caring for patients as a primary care physician, Dr. Gieske also serves as Lead Physician at his Ft. Mitchell, Kentucky office, the St. Elizabeth Physicians East Division Physician Director of Primary Care, and Physician Director of Virtual Health.
Dr. Gieske received his Doctor of Medicine (M.D.) from the University of Louisville School of Medicine. He completed his internship and residency at St. Elizabeth and is certified by the American Board of Family Medicine. Dr. Gieske’s resume includes awards such as 2019 Cincinnati Business Courier Health Care Hero finalist and the Patrick T. Birrer Physician Excellence Award for Innovation. He has also been a speaker or presented at the World Conference on Lung Cancer, National Lung Cancer Roundtable, GO2 Foundation Lung Cancer Screening and Care Conference, and the “Growing a LDCT Program in a Community Hospital System” program for the University of Kentucky Markey Cancer Center Affiliate Network.
Lung cancer screenings are available at one of six convenient locations in Covington, Edgewood, Florence, Ft. Thomas, Grant County and Hebron. To determine if you are a candidate for lung cancer screening or the new retail lung cancer screening option, contact your primary care provider or visit stelizabeth.com/lung to take a free quiz. Call the St. Elizabeth Lung Screening Nurse Navigators at (859) 301-4072 for additional questions.
About St. Elizabeth Healthcare
St. Elizabeth Healthcare operates five facilities throughout Northern Kentucky and more than 115 primary care and specialty office locations in Kentucky, Indiana and Ohio. A member of the Mayo Clinic Care Network, St. Elizabeth is a mission-based organization committed to improving the health of the communities it serves, providing more than $116 million in uncompensated care and benefit to the community in 2018. For more information, visit www.stelizabeth.com.