For more than 20 years, Janet and William Spensley trusted the physicians, nurses and hospital caregivers at Swedish Covenant Hospital with their medical care. To show their gratitude, the Spensley’s left a generous bequest to Swedish Covenant Hospital’s Cancer Center. Through this planned gift, the Spensley’s will allow others to access a new lung cancer screening method at a minimal cost. Their legacy gift will save hundreds of lives.
“We are grateful for the Spensley’s thoughtful expression of gratitude that will affect hundreds of Swedish Covenant Hospital patients,” Dr. Jeffrey Cilley, SCH medical oncologist, said.
According to the American Lung Association, lung cancer has poor survival rates relative to other forms of cancer and is the leading cause of cancer death in the United States. Until recently, a screening tool wasn’t available to detect lung cancer. Instead, lung cancer was often first diagnosed based on a patient’s symptoms, at which point the cancer was already in an advanced stage.
The American Society of Clinical Oncology recently released new guidelines for lung cancer screening and Swedish Covenant Hospital will bring this screening to the community. Through this new screening program, providers will identify individuals who are at high-risk for lung cancer based on age and smoking history and refer them for low-dose CT scans. The screenings will be provided for the cost of one pack of cigarettes or the equivalent of $10. Because this screening is not yet covered by insurance, the Spensley’s have made it possible for hundreds of individuals to access low-cost screening.
“Through this new program, high-risk individuals will have access to screening that can detect lung cancer early, allowing them to pursue the treatment they need. This program will add to the holistic and interdisciplinary approach to integrated cancer care at Swedish Covenant and better serve our community,” Dr. Cilley said.
The lung cancer screening program will work in conjunction with a smoking cessation program that will be subsidized with donor dollars granted through the Swedish Covenant Hospital Foundation.