St. Mary Medical Center Participating in National Smoking Cessation and Lung Screening Trial

By: Community Healthcare System Last Updated: January 24, 2019

chs-stock St. Mary Medical Center is one of 18 hospitals or health centers nationwide participating in the Cessation and Screening to Save Lives (CASTL) Trial, which looks to identify the most effective tobacco-cessation techniques for lung cancer screening programs. The study is being conducted by Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, NYU Langone Health and the Lung Cancer Alliance Screening Centers of Excellence Network which includes St. Mary Medical Center.

“We are excited to be working with St. Mary Medical Center on this project,” said Jennifer C. King, PhD, director of Science and Research with Lung Cancer Alliance. “This is a chance to tap into an existing network of healthcare facilities that already are committed to responsible screening practices to enhance and accelerate research gains in the field of smoking cessation.”

St. Mary Medical Center is the only Northwest Indiana hospital participating in the CASTL trial. Chief Executive Officer Janice Ryba said that local communities continue to experience above-average rates of lung cancer, a health concern the hospital seeks to address through community education, lung screenings and the most advanced available treatment options including, when appropriate, minimally invasive robotic thoracic surgery.

“The Centers for Disease Control reports that between 80 and 90 percent of all lung cancer diagnoses result from smoking,” Ryba said. “Tobacco cessation remains one of our most important tools in the fight against lung cancer. By participating in the CASTL trial, our Cancer Care Center is teaming up with patients and other hospitals across the country to discover the most effective methods for helping patients quit. We are excited to be part of this important effort.”

The Lung Cancer Alliance recently named St. Mary Medical Center a Screening Center of Excellence for its ongoing commitment to responsible lung cancer screening. Low-dose CT screening for lung cancer carried out safely, efficiently and equitably saves tens of thousands of lives each year.

“Lung cancer screening represents an unprecedented opportunity to reach smokers who are concerned about their lung health,” said Jamie S. Ostroff, PhD, Principal Investigator and Chief of the Behavioral Sciences Service at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center. “The findings from this study will help guide the delivery of safe, effective and acceptable smoking cessation treatments within the context of lung cancer screening.”

Lung cancer screenings are typically recommended for adults with a history of heavy smoking or those who have all of the following risk factors: between 55 and 77 years of age; current or former smoker who has quit within the past 15 years and have at least a 30-pack-year smoking history-one pack a day for 30 years or two packs a day for 15 years.

St. Mary Medical Center offers lung screenings at locations in Hobart, Portage and Valparaiso. Call 800-809-9828 for more information or to schedule a screening.

Roxanne Karnes, RN, Cancer Care Services manager for St. Mary Medical Center, invited smokers who are looking to quit or cut back to make tobacco cessation a New Year’s resolution. Participation in the CASTL trial may help them achieve that goal, she said.

“For people who don’t quit altogether, even a reduction in smoking can bring health benefits and can lead to cessation in the future,” Karnes said. “Participants in the CASTL trial will be randomly assigned to a specific smoking cessation treatment and may receive cessation medication as part of the trial. They will be asked to complete a baseline survey and to complete follow-up surveys by phone or online three months and six months after they begin the trial.”

Karnes said the total time commitment for the six-month study is only about two hours. Participants are not required to quit smoking during the trial.

To learn more about participating in the CASTL trial, contact Roxy Karnes, Cancer Care Services manager, at 219-947-6060.

For upcoming times and dates of smoking cessation classes at St. Mary Medical Center, visit, then enter “smoking” in the search bar.