Newswise — HACKENSACK, N.J., April 26, 2021 — Lung cancer is the most common cause of cancer death in the United States and early detection is key to a successful treatment. That’s why Hackensack University Medical Center is making screenings more convenient. Virtual lung cancer screenings can be mostly done from the comfort of your own home.

Dr. Nabil Pierre Rizk, Chief of Thoracic Surgery, Hackensack Meridian Hackensack University Medical Center, says the telehealth offering, especially at a time when many hesitate about visiting their doctors due to the pandemic, is so invaluable. 

“Lung cancer screenings are an underutilized resource that can provide lifesaving benefits for eligible patients,” explains Rizk. “Ever since the pandemic began, we’re finding that more and more patients are utilizing telehealth visits with their regular physicians. We’re pleased to now be able to offer this service for lung cancer screenings as well in a convenient and comprehensive way.”

Lung cancer screenings can provide patients peace of mind, more treatment options, and a better chance of survival. Unfortunately, a small percentage of New Jersey residents take advantage of this potentially lifesaving service. 

To qualify for Lung cancer screening a person must be: 

  • A former smoker who has quit in the last 15 years
  • Between the ages of 55 and 80 years old
  • Have no symptoms of lung cancer
  • Have a smoking history of at least a 30-pack-year smoking history (such as two packs per day for 15 years) or one pack a day for 30 years

The first step is for a patient to call the Lung Cancer Screening Program who will conduct a comprehensive phone screening to determine if a person is eligible. The team will make recommendations on if a screening is needed and if the patient qualifies. If they do, a telehealth visit will be scheduled followed by a CT scan in person. For qualified patients, lung cancer screening is fully covered by all private health insurance carriers and Medicare and their primary care physician can be included in the call. 

This was the process for Edgewater resident, Marie Capozzi, who was later relieved to find out she does not have lung cancer. 

“With my family history of cancer, I was nervous about going for the screening but it was

quick and easy. Now I feel as though a weight has been lifted and I highly recommend the process to others.”

To schedule your lung cancer screening call Hackensack University Medical Center’s Lung Cancer Screening Program at 551-996-3384 or visit and complete the online form. In addition to lung cancer screenings, Hackensack Meridian Health offers virtual doctor visits through our convenient care NOW mobile app with board certified physicians in all fields. Download the app to learn more. 


Hackensack University Medical Center, a 771-bed nonprofit teaching and research hospital located in Bergen County, is the largest provider of inpatient and outpatient services in New Jersey.  Founded in 1888, it was the county’s first hospital. It was the first hospital in New Jersey and second in the nation to become a Magnet®-recognized hospital for nursing excellence, receiving its sixth consecutive designation in 2019 from the American Nurses Credentialing Center. The academic flagship of the Hackensack Meridian Health network, Hackensack University Medical Center provides award-winning care on a campus that is home to facilities such as John Theurer Cancer Center, a consortium member of the NCI-designated Georgetown Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center and recognized as the #1 hospital for cancer care in New Jersey by U.S. News & World Report’s 2020-21 "Best Hospitals" Honor Roll; the Heart & Vascular Hospital; and the Sarkis and Siran Gabrellian Women’s and Children’s Pavilion, which houses the Joseph M. Sanzari Children’s Hospital and Donna A. Sanzari Women’s Hospital, designed in collaboration with The Deirdre Imus Environmental Health Center and listed on the Green Guide’s list of Top 10 Green Hospitals in the U.S. Recognized as being in the top 1% of hospitals in the nation and #2 in New Jersey by U.S. News & World Report’s 2020-21 "Best Hospitals" Honor Roll, Hackensack University Medical Center also ranked as high-performing in nine specialties: cancer care, cardiology and heart surgery, gastroenterology and GI surgery, geriatrics, nephrology, neurology and neurosurgery, orthopedics, pulmonology, and urology. Hackensack University Medical Center’s comprehensive clinical research portfolio includes studies focused on precision medicine, translational medicine, immunotherapy, cell therapy, and vaccine development. The hospital has embarked on the largest healthcare expansion project ever approved by the state: Construction of the Helena Theurer Pavilion, a 530,000-sq.-ft., nine-story building, which began in 2019. A $714.2 million endeavor, the pavilion is one the largest healthcare capital projects in New Jersey and will house 24 state-of-the-art operating rooms with intraoperative MRI capability, 50 ICU beds, and 150 private patient rooms, including a dedicated 50-bed Orthopedic Institute. To learn more, visit


Hackensack Meridian Health is a leading not-for-profit health care organization that is the largest, most comprehensive and truly integrated health care network in New Jersey, offering a complete range of medical services, innovative research and life-enhancing care. 

Hackensack Meridian Health comprises 17 hospitals from Bergen to Ocean counties, which includes three academic medical centers – Hackensack University Medical Center in Hackensack, Jersey Shore University Medical Center in Neptune, JFK Medical Center in Edison; two children’s hospitals - Joseph M. Sanzari Children’s Hospital in Hackensack, K. Hovnanian Children’s Hospital in Neptune; nine community hospitals – Bayshore Medical Center in Holmdel, Mountainside Medical Center in Montclair, Ocean Medical Center in Brick, Palisades Medical Center in North Bergen, Pascack Valley Medical Center in Westwood, Raritan Bay Medical Center in Old Bridge, Raritan Bay Medical Center in Perth Amboy, Riverview Medical Center in Red Bank, and Southern Ocean Medical Center in Manahawkin; a behavioral health hospital – Carrier Clinic in Belle Mead; and two rehabilitation hospitals - JFK Johnson Rehabilitation Institute in Edison and Shore Rehabilitation Institute in Brick. 

Additionally, the network has more than 500 patient care locations throughout the state which include ambulatory care centers, surgery centers, home health services, long-term care and assisted living communities, ambulance services, lifesaving air medical transportation, fitness and wellness centers, rehabilitation centers, urgent care centers and physician practice locations. Hackensack Meridian Health has more than 36,000 team members, and 7,000 physicians and is a distinguished leader in health care philanthropy, committed to the health and well-being of the communities it serves.

The network’s notable distinctions include having four of its hospitals are among the top hospitals in New Jersey for 2020-21, according to U.S. News & World Report. Additionally, the health system has more top-ranked hospitals than any system in New Jersey. Children’s Health is again ranked a top provider of pediatric health care in the United States and earned top 50 rankings in the annual U.S. News’ 2020-21 Best Children’s Hospitals report.   Other honors include consistently achieving Magnet® recognition for nursing excellence from the American Nurses Credentialing Center and being named to Becker’s Healthcare’s “150 Top Places to Work in Healthcare/2019” list. 

The Hackensack Meridian School of Medicine, the first private medical school in New Jersey in more than 50 years, welcomed its first class of students in 2018 to its On3 campus in Nutley and Clifton. The Hackensack Meridian Center for Discovery and Innovation (CDI), housed in a fully renovated state-of-the-art facility, seeks to translate current innovations in science to improve clinical outcomes for patients with cancer, infectious diseases and other life-threatening and disabling conditions.

Additionally, the network partnered with Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center to find more cures for cancer faster while ensuring that patients have access to the highest quality, most individualized cancer care when and where they need it. 

Hackensack Meridian Health is a member of AllSpire Health Partners, an interstate consortium of leading health systems, to focus on the sharing of best practices in clinical care and achieving efficiencies. To learn more, visit