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Longtime nurse leads program to screen smokers for lung cancer

Lyn Pitman

Lyn Pitman has always had a passion for working with oncology patients.

A registered nurse at Via Christi for more than 40 years, Pitman has spent much of her career working in Oncology Services, first serving as a staff nurse with hospitalized cancer patients. She later became a radiation therapy nurse at the Via Christi Cancer Center, and also worked with patients at the Via Christi CyberKnife Center.

For the past two years, she has served as a lung cancer nurse navigator for a program the Via Christi Cancer Outreach and Risk Assessment, or CORA, created for long-time smokers at risk for lung cancer.

Through the program, patients who meet the criteria can have an annual low-dose CT scan, a painless procedure covered by Medicare and private insurance. That criteria includes current smokers or anyone who has quit smoking in the past 15 years who is age 55 to 77 and whose number of packs per day smoked times the number of years smoked totals 30 or more.

For patients with concerning findings, Pitman helps make the scary less frightening and the complicated simpler by working with a multidisciplinary team that includes radiologists, thoracic surgeons, pulmonologists and oncologists to determine next steps in partnership with the patient’s physician.

“Our goal is to find lung cancer early people when it is the most treatable and has best outcomes,” says Pitman, adding that in the program’s first two years, 15 instances of lung cancer have been detected and another 352 patients identified whose results indicated a need for closer monitoring.

For more information on the program, call 316-268-5680.

About Roz Hutchinson

Roz Hutchinson is a Wichita wife, mother and chief spoiler of six grandkids and three Chihuahuas, a die-hard women's basketball fan, and director of Communications and Public Relations for Via Christi Health.