A new early detection program for lung cancer patients could save hundreds of lives a year, The Jerusalem Post reported on Monday.
The Health Ministry has approved a three-year pilot program for computed tomography (CT) screening at Hadassah Medical Center will employ Lung-RADS, a tool for standardizing lung cancer diagnosis and treatment.
Prof. Dorith Shaham, who runs the thoracic imaging center at Hadassah, said that “if 1,800 people die each year [in Israel] of lung cancer, even if we save 200 or 300 people per year, it’s a lot,” said Shaham, and she said it could well be more than that.
While the efficacy of CT screening for lung cancer has already been demonstrated, she explained that until now, such screening was infrequent because of lack of awareness, as well as the high cost of paying for the test privately.
Approximately 2,500 people are diagnosed with lung cancer in Israel annually, and about 1,800 people die from it. Lung cancer is the number one cause of cancer death because in more than two-thirds of cases (70 percent) detection comes only at a late, metastatic stage.
A CT scan for early detection of lung cancer is recommended for people aged 55 to 75 who smoked one pack a day for 30 years or two packs a day for 15 years. This recommendation even applies to those who smoked this amount in the past, and stopped within the last 15 years.