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Early CT Screening and Innovative Treatment Improve Lung Cancer Survival Rates

 Someone is diagnosed with lung cancer every three minutes, yet the findings of the now decade-old National Lung Screening Trial (NLST) are still not acted upon: participants who received low-dose helical CT (LDCT) screens had up to 20 percent lower lung cancer mortality risk than participants who received standard radiographs. In fact, at least 9 million people in America are eligible for LDCT annual screening but less than 2 percent are getting screened.

Bringing LDCT to patients

The AMITA Health Cancer Institute is working to end this disconnect between screening evidence and practice by offering advanced, highly accessible LDCT screening at multiple locations for a flat fee. The painless scan, which uses 10 times less radiation than traditional tests, takes five minutes to administer. According to the International Early Lung Cancer Action Project, more than 80 percent of lung cancers found with LDCT are at the earliest stages, when treatment can be most effective. In fact, patients diagnosed with screen-detected Stage I lung cancer can have over a 90 percent five-year survival rate. Annual lung cancer screenings are recommended for adults aged 55-80 years who have a 30-pack-year smoking history or who have quit within the past 15 years.

Advanced biopsy techniques and multidisciplinary treatment

If an anomaly is detected in a screen, AMITA Health’s interventional pulmonology team offers minimally invasive bronchoscopic procedures for biopsy, such as electromagnetic navigational bronchoscopy and endobronchial ultrasound. Endobronchial ultrasound is a minimally invasive procedure that helps thoroughly evaluate and biopsy the lymph nodes. Navigational bronchoscopy is often used in conjunction with endobronchial to biopsy lung nodules in difficult-to-access areas of the lungs.

About one-third of lung cancer patients are diagnosed with localized disease that may be treated by either surgical resection or, if the patient is not a candidate for surgery or declines it, with a form of radiotherapy. At AMITA Health, we can treat these patients with stereotactic body radiation therapy (SBRT). Treating with SBRT involves a multitude of small, focused radiation beams tracking the lung tumor along with its respiratory movement, typically in three to five treatments. The national 2-, and 3-year control rates for SBRT are 97% and 93% respectively.

Patients diagnosed with lung cancer are treated at AMITA Health by a multidisciplinary team of radiation oncologists, surgeons, medical oncologists, pathologists, radiologists, and interventional pulmonologists. Our five-year survival rates for lung cancer exceed the American Cancer Society’s national statistics.

Clinical trial – virtual reality for improving oncology treatment

AMITA Health is currently conducting clinical trials to determine whether virtual reality relaxation techniques can ease pain and anxiety from radiation mucositis, esophagitis and dermatitis. To inquire about the study, please contact us:

Neeraj Desai, MD, MBA
Interventional Pulmonology
AMITA Health Medical Group, formerly known as Suburban Lung Associates, S.C.
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Ramji R. Rajendran, MD, PhD
Radiation Oncology
Radiation Oncology Consultants, Ltd.
AMITA Health provider
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