Each year, a special group of MoBap donors called Champions for Care designate their giving to a group fund-raising project that will elevate the quality of patient care. In 2020, that project was MoBap’s lung cancer screening program.
Thanks to the Champions for Care 2020 campaign, Bridget Switzer was hired as an additional CT lung screening nurse navigator. “I’m excited to start working in this growing program at Missouri Baptist that is helping to make a difference with early diagnosis and improving disease outcomes,” she says. “It is an impactful program to our patients and community, and I am proud to be joining this team.”
More deaths occur annually from lung cancer than colon, breast and prostate cancers combined. Screening people who are at high risk, and catching lung cancer early, provides the best chance for treatment. Between 2014-2020, MoBap has screened more than 2,300 patients, detecting more than 85 total cancers.
As part of MoBap’s growing screening program, a dedicated nurse serves as a CT lung screening nurse navigator, educating physicians and patients about screening guidelines, working with patients and families to schedule appointments, answering their questions, and guiding them through the entire cancer treatment journey if cancer is found.
“CT lung screening is now a vital preventive exam for patients who meet the eligibility requirements,” says Beth Arenas, current CT lung screening nurse navigator. “This screening tool, a CT scan of the chest, is a proactive step in early detection of a possible new lung cancer diagnosis with patients who are not showing any signs and symptoms of lung cancer.
“The national data shows that only 2% of people meeting the lung screening criteria are being enrolled in a programs like ours. I want to do my best every day to reach as many of these patients as I can, because I know how important early detection is,” Arenas adds. “Early detection is the key to saving lives by finding these lung nodules early and monitoring the patients in our regional CT lung screening program.”
To help reach even more people, the Champions’ 2020 project raised funds to support a second CT lung screening nurse navigator for the program and also to underwrite screening for people who are unable to pay.
“The need for a second nurse navigator was great,” says Joe Moro, Missouri Baptist Healthcare Foundation Board member. “Missouri Baptist had only one nurse navigator for the lung cancer screening program, which was at capacity with more than 2,000 patients enrolled. Thank goodness for the Champions for Care donors who are saving lives across Missouri, serving the underinsured or those in our community who cannot afford the co-pay.”
To participate in Champions for Care, submit your donation through our online form or contact Deborah Kersting via phone 314.996.5055 or by email.