Lung cancer survivor credits screening for finding issue early


COLUMBIA, Tenn. — Linda Moore could tell something just wasn’t right when she experienced a little shortness of breath that wouldn’t go away.

At first, she mentioned the problem to her cardiologist, who couldn’t pinpoint anything abnormal happening with her heart. He suggested she see a pulmonologist, and she was scheduled with J. Spencer Jensen, MD, a board-certified specialist with Maury Regional Medical Group Pulmonary & Critical Care.

During her appointment, as Moore and Dr. Jensen reviewed her medical history and condition, they discussed whether she could benefit from a low-dose computed tomography (CT) lung screening.

“He said I would be the perfect candidate,” Moore said.

A CT scan uses X-rays combined with a computer that allow a radiologist to see the bones and soft tissues within the body more clearly.

“Low-dose CT lung screenings are one of our most important tools in detecting lung cancer in its early stages,” Dr. Jensen said. “If we can catch it in its early stages, the survival rate is far higher. The sooner we can get a screening scheduled for patients who are candidates, the better.”

Moore’s first CT screening showed a spot of concern in the left upper lobe of her lungs, and Dr. Jensen suggested she get a positron emission tomography (PET) scan, which combines the use of a camera and a tracer to generate pictures of a precise location and extent of diseases such as cancer.

Following PET scans, a biopsy was ordered for Moore and ultimately confirmed it was stage 1 lung cancer. She was referred to a thoracic surgeon, who specializes in operating on organs inside the chest, including the lungs.

Fortunately, the cancer was found in its earliest stages thanks to Moore’s physician and her willingness to go through with the low-dose CT screening.

“The thoracic surgeon asked how in the world I found this, because you usually don’t find stuff like that until it has progressed further,” she said. “I told her it was because of the low-dose screening.”

Moore underwent successful surgery in May of 2022 to remove the cancerous area, and her screenings since have all have shown cancer-free results.

She credits the low-dose CT screening for finding the cancer in such an early stage, making it easier to manage and treat.

“I’ve passed that along to some of my friends and family that if you’re eligible for those early screenings, just do it,” Moore said.

To qualify for a low-dose CT lung screening, patients must meet the following criteria:

∙ Be 50-77 years of age

∙ Have no signs or symptoms of lung cancer

∙ Have a tobacco smoking history of at least 20 pack-years (one pack-year equals smoking one pack per day for one year; one pack equals 20 cigarettes)

∙ Be a current smoker or one who has quit within the last 15 years

∙ Receive a written order from your primary care provider

For those who don’t meet the criteria, a self-pay CT screening of the chest and lung area is available without a physician’s order at Maury Regional Health’s outpatient imaging locations.

Maury Regional Health’s outpatient imaging locations also offer several other self-pay and self-schedule organ screenings that do not require a physician referral. These wellness screenings are convenient, affordable and non-invasive, utilizing ultrasound or CT technology to scan various organs for stones, cancers and heart issues.

As a lifelong southern Middle Tennessee resident — she grew up in Lawrence County and now lives in Giles County — Moore takes pride in being provided excellent care at Maury Regional Health.

“To be able to do the low-dose CT screening at Maury Regional is really what convinced me to get it done,” she said. “I don’t know if I would have gone somewhere else for the CT scan.

“Both me and my husband have been patients at Maury Regional, and we appreciate everything they’ve done.”

Maury Regional Health recommends all adults consult with their primary care provider about their cancer risk and the appropriate screenings to schedule. Some common screenings offered include those for breast, cervical, colorectal, lung, prostate, skin and testicular cancers.

For more information about cancer screenings at MRH, visit

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