Telehealth Visits Provide Early Detection, More Treatment Options and Better Chance of Survival

August 1 is World Lung Cancer Awareness Day, a global initiative to raise awareness to the fact that lung cancer is the most common cause of cancer death and even though new research and discovery continue to make breakthroughs, it ranks among the lowest in terms of survival rate when compared to breast cancer or prostate cancer. One factor - many people are often reluctant to go for screenings. 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.

“It was so easy and I felt so much more at ease because I was able to have my screening from home,” says satisfied patient Marie Capozzi. 

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, 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 find out more or to book an interview with one of our physicians or patients, contact Mary McGeever at 551-795-1675 or [email protected]. Or visit 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