CT scan can re­duce lung can­cer mor­tal­ity rate

North Penn Life - - OPINION -

Cur­rent and for­mer heavy smok­ers — quit within the SDVW 15 yHDUV — hDvH D 20 per­cent less chance of dy­ing from lung can­cer by get­ting a low-dose screening CT scan that can show the early stages of the dis­easeI ac­cord­ing to a re­cent na­tional study.

The scans — rec­om­mendHG IRU WhRVH DJH 55 WR 74 whR smoke or pre­vi­ously smoked DW OHDVW RQH SDFN D GDy IRU 30 years or two packs a day for 15 years and have no his­tory of lung can­cer — will be of­fered through a new iung Can­cer Screening Pro­gram with fol­low-up pro­vided by a Com­pre­hen­sive iung Nod­ule jan­age­ment Pro­gramI both be­ing launched Oct. P by Abing­ton je­mo­rial eospi­tal.

jore peo­ple in the United States die from lung can­cer than any other type of can­cerI ac­cord­ing to the Cen­ters for Dis­ease Con­trol and PrevenWLRQ. AERXW 200,000 LQ WhH United States are di­ag­nosed with lung can­cer ev­ery yearI wLWh PRUH WhDQ 150,000 Gy­ing from the dis­ease.

oe­sults from the Na­tional iung Screening Trial show “clearI com­pelling ev­i­dence lung can­cer screening is cost-ef­fec­tive and has an RvHUDOO hHDOWh EHQH­fiW … D VXUvLvDO EHQH­fiW IRU WhRVH 55 WR 74,” VDLG DU. 3DXO O’jooreI part of a team of ra­di­ol­o­gistsI pul­mo­nolo­gistsI tho­racic sur­geonsI ra­di­a­tion on­col­o­gistsI med­i­cal on­col­o­gists and pri­mary care physi­cians who de­vel­oped the Aje pro­grams.

ThH VWXGy, LQ whLFh 53,000 cur­rent or for­mer heavy smok­ers re­ceived ei­ther low­dose CT or stan­dard chest urays ex­amsI con­cluded that those who had three low­dose chest CT scans over a WhUHH-yHDU SHULRG hDG D 20 per­cent lower risk of dy­ing from lung can­cer than those who re­ceived the chest u-rays.

The screening and “on­estop- shop­ping” ap­proach lung nod­ule pro­grams in­clude the CT scanI speak­ing with a ra­di­ol­o­gist and work­ing with a nurse nav­i­ga­tor who will guide the pa­tient through the process of hav­ing any ab­nor­mal fiQGLQJV WUHDWHG. BRWh wLOO be of­fered at the PbT scan fa­cil­ity at the hospi­tal’s Blair jill ooad com­plexI said O’jooreI an in­ter­ven­tional ra­di­ol­o­gist for O5 years who will be read­ing the scans and speak­ing with pa­tients at the Wil­low Grove fa­cil­ity.

“WH wHUH fiQGLQJ WhDW D ORW of peo­ple have scans for other rea­sonsI” per­haps to rule out pneu­mo­nia for a coughI and some­times the scan picks up nod­ules in the lungs and the pa­tient doesn’t know what to doI O’joore said. “This xpro­gramz is a com­pre­hen­sive and con­sis­tent so­lu­tion to manag­ing that.”

A CT scan “has a much greater sen­si­tiv­ity to small thingsI” he said. It can pick up a nod­ule 1 mm to O mm in sizeI while on a chest u-ray any­thing smaller than 5 or S mm is hard to seeI he said.

“By the time you can see xsome nod­ulesz on a chest u-rayI there’s a chance of it EHLQJ D VLJQL­fiFDQW threat to healthI” O’joore said. “It xlung can­cerz may be past stage 1 or O … DW VWDJHV 3 DQG 4 al­most none are cured.”

ThH VSHFL­fiF ORw­dose tech­nique be­ing used for the scan does not have D VLJQL­fiFDQW ULVN LQ caus­ing sec­ondary can­cersI he said; “WhH EHQH­fiW FOHDUOy out­weighs any risk.”

The Aje pro­grams will con­form to the meth­ods used in the studyI with pa­tients hav­ing the scan three years in a rowI he said.

AERXW RQH LQ 20 VPRNHUV LQ WhH 55 WR 74 DJH JURXS have nod­ules in their lungsI O’joore saidI but “it may be the re­sult of in­fec­tion or scar tis­sue.” jon­i­tor­ing the nod­ules “be­comes a man­age­ment burden” for a pri­mary care physi­cianI he said.

“We tried to build a re­source within the Abing­ton hospi­tal sys­tem to prop­er­lyI re­li­ably and in a uni­form way pro­vide a thor­ough and con­sis­tent man­age­ment schemeI” O’joore said.

Those whose scans show nod­ules would be ad­vised to have a fol­low-up scan. IfI over a pe­riod of time there was no change in the nod­uleI it would prob­a­bly be noth­ingI he said.

A PbT scan will show if some­thing is grow­ingI O’joore saidI and those with a nod­ule 4I SI or 8 mm — the size of a pea — or one that is chang­ing would have a fol­low-up scan within three to 1O months.

“ThH SRLQW LV WR fiQG can­cers when they can be curedI” he said. “If you wait for symp­tomsI the show’s over.”

At stage 1 or OI the size of a hazel­nut or small­erI “there is a high like­li­hood of be­ing com­pletely cured of can­cerI” O’joore said. “By pecan sizeI you’re on the bad side of the sur­vival curve.”

Treat­ment can be surgery or a com­bi­na­tion of ra­di­a­tionI chemo­ther­apy and surgeryI he said.

The goal of the new pro­grams is to have a co­or­di­nated team ef­fort to treat the can­cer as well as it can be treat­edI he said.

“We’re try­ing to pro­vide a cut­ting-edge com­pre­henVLvH VROXWLRQ … DQG EHQH­fiW peo­ple at risk of de­vel­op­ing lung can­cerI” O’joore said.

“We want to catch it ear­lyI” he said. While the VFUHHQLQJ, whLFh FRVWV $350, is not yet cov­ered by in­sur­anceI he saidI “What else can yRX VSHQG $350 RQ WR ORwHU yRXU ULVN RI GyLQJ Ey 20 SHU­cent?”

To Your Health Linda Finarelli

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