Newswise — 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.