Lung Cancer is one of the most common and lethal forms of cancer in Canada.
Lung Cancer in Canada
It comprises 25% of all cancer deaths. It can grow silently for years before symptoms arise – typically when it has already reached an advanced stage where treatment is difficult and cure rates are low.
Doctors have been discovering new ways to diagnose and treat lung cancer, giving people a better chance of recovery, however, lung cancer remains one of the deadliest cancers in Canada.
Lung Cancer Statistics…Each year in Canada:
- Over 12,200 women are diagnosed with lung cancer
- An estimated 9,300 women will die of lung cancer
- Over 13,200 men are diagnosed with lung cancer
- An estimated 11,300 men will die of lung cancer
During a lifetime, one in 11 men is expected to develop lung cancer and one in 13 may die of it. For women, one in 15 is expected to develop lung cancer and one in 17 may die of it over a lifetime.
Lung cancer is most common in the 55-70 year age group, but in recent decades it has doubled in the 40-44 year old group and increased ten-fold in the 60-64 year group. Most lung cancer cases are related to smoking, however lung cancer in non-smokers is now the 10th most common cancer in Canada, more often in women.
Who is at risk?
- People with a history of smoking
- People with a prolonged history of exposure to asbestos, radon (a radioactive gas) or other industrial pollutants
- Casual exposure to second hand smoke
- People with prior lung, esophageal, laryngeal or oral cancer
- People with severe emphysema or Chronic Obstructive Lung disease
- Smokers with a family history of lung cancer
What are the warning signs?
- Persistent Coughing
- Shortness of Breath
- Coughing up Blood
- Chest Pain
- Weight loss
- Loss of Appetite
- Repeated Bronchitis of Pneumonia
- Swelling of face of neck
- Square swelling of the fingertips
- Eyelid Drooping
- Facial paralysis
What are the benefits of lung screening CT?
The Lung Cancer Screening Program uses low-dose computed tomography (CT) technology to detect lung cancer as early as possible, when it is potentially more treatable. The National Lung Screening Trial in the United States showed a 20% reduction in lung cancer-related deaths in smokers screened annually with a low-dose CT scan, compared to annual screening with standard chest X-rays. Patients benefit from new low-dose scanning protocols and advanced software that greatly reduces their radiation exposure. Our LightSpeed VCT System offers faster scans, lower radiation and 64-slices for superior imaging quality. Each patient’s CT scans are analyzed by a radiologist specializing in lung cancer diagnosis and treatment. Thoracic surgery, pulmonary medicine, oncology and radiology experts work together to develop optimized treatment plans.
Who should be screened?
This procedure is appropriate for 55-75 year old current smokers who have smoked for more than 30 pack–years. A pack-year is the number of years a person has been smoking multiplied by the number of packs smoked per day. Ex-smokers (quit smoking within the past 15 years) with more than 30 pack-years of smoking remain at increased risk, and are appropriate for screening. Also appropriate for those with prolonged occupational exposure to asbestos and other industrial pollutants.
What to expect.
The low radiation-dose CT scan takes less than 10 minutes and is painless, with no IV, needles or dye required. The scanning software creates a 3D model of the lungs for a radiologist to review for abnormalities. If a large nodule is detected, the radiologist may recommend a 6 month follow-up scan, or a referral to a lung specialist, depending on its size. After reviewing the results it is highly recommended that an additional two low-dose CT scans be scheduled over the next two years as that is the only scientifically proven way to decrease cancer deaths by over 20% (according to the landmark National Lung Screening Trial in the New England Journal of Medicine). Only by comparing the scans year over year can changes in the lung tissue be identified and analyzed.