For the media

Teaming up for better breathing

By The Health News Team | Updated January 23, 2024
Burr Heart & Lung Clinic at Sharp Grossmont Hospital

Left to right: Rita Redaelli and Loralee Olejnik of the American Lung Association, with Michelle Diaz, Paul Neves and Dr. Kaveh Bagheri, of the Burr Heart & Lung Clinic.

According to the American Lung Association, smoking is the highest risk factor for lung cancer, with close to 90% of lung cancer cases being due to active smoking. Other risk factors include exposures to cancer-causing agents, radon and outdoor air pollution.

“Lung cancer is one of the most common and deadly cancers,” says Dr. Kaveh Bagheri, a pulmonologist affiliated with Sharp Grossmont Hospital. “We are honored to serve as the exclusive health care partner of the American Lung Association in San Diego County to help discuss the benefits of early lung cancer screening for those who are at highest risk for the disease.”

The Burr Heart & Lung Clinic at Sharp Grossmont Hospital is an outpatient clinic serving people living with chronic lung disease, including asthma, chronic bronchitis, pulmonary fibrosis and COVID-19 long-hauler symptoms. The clinic is also keenly focused on the early detection and treatment of pulmonary nodules, lung cancer and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).

The importance of screening

The Burr Heart & Lung Clinic's mission is to ensure that those at high risk of developing lung cancer are screened and treated early to increase survival. To further this cause, Sharp Grossmont is teaming up with the American Lung Association, San Diego, to help raise awareness about the importance of lung cancer screening and early detection.

“Approximately 14 million people in the United States who are at high risk for lung cancer can be saved if the cancer is detected and treated early,” says Rita Redaelli, executive director of the American Lung Association, San Diego. “If everyone at high risk were screened, close to 48,000 lives could be saved.”

Moreover, the American Lung Association’s annual State of Lung Cancer report notes that every 2 1/2 minutes, someone is diagnosed with lung cancer — and 4 in 5 of those individuals will ultimately die from the disease.

“Saving lives through early detection is the reason we have teamed up with the American Lung Association,” adds Dr. Bagheri. “People are surviving lung cancer, and lung cancer screening using state-of-the-art and safe diagnostic tools is key. Sharp HealthCare offers safe, low-dose CT scans, which allow doctors to pinpoint cancerous tumors in the lungs early.”

First to offer state-of-the-art care

Sharp Grossmont also offers advanced lung cancer diagnostic tools, such as robotic bronchoscopy. Sharp Grossmont was the first hospital in San Diego County — and is the only hospital in East County — to use this innovative technology. Robotic-assisted bronchoscopy is a precise, 3D-visual tool that allows doctors to take samples of suspected tissue from hard-to-reach areas of the lungs to determine if they are cancerous.

Along with communicating the importance of early lung cancer detection, Sharp Grossmont sponsors several American Lung Association local events and programs, such as:

  • Better Breathers Club, a support group for people living with chronic lung disease

  • Community Connections, an educational speaker series featuring lung health experts from health care and community organizations who educate and answer questions on lung health topics

  • American Lung Association LUNG FORCE Walk, an annual event at NTC Park at Liberty Station to raise awareness and funds to treat lung cancer, improve lung health and protect clean air for all

“Breathing is essential to human life,” says Dr. Bagheri. “To come together, not only in our partnership with the American Lung Association, but as a greater community to recognize the importance of healthy lungs in daily living, is truly a mission our clinic is happy to be a part of.”

Take a quiz to see if you are a candidate for lung cancer screening, and learn more about the Burr Heart & Lung Clinic at Sharp Grossmont Hospital.

For the news media: To speak with Dr. Kaveh Bagheri for an upcoming story, please contact Erica Carlson, senior public relations specialist, at

You might also like:

Get the best of Sharp Health News in your inbox

Our weekly email brings you the latest health tips, recipes and stories.