Health Sciences North is seeking more participants for a pilot program for the early detection of lung cancer.
Last year, a Sudbury hospital, in collaboration with Cancer Care Ontario, launched a lung cancer control program for individuals with a high degree of risk.
The HSN was one of the three Ontario-based hospitals in collaboration with Lakeridge in Oshawa and the Ottawa Hospital.
The idea behind the pilot program came from a large United States test that has determined that CT scanning at low doses in people of a certain age and the history of smoking helps to determine if there are abnormalities that could lead to lung cancer.
Dr. Amanda Hey, the regional leading provider of primary care in the North East Cancer Center, says it is important that we have such a program, especially in our region.
"In the northeast we have a greater incidence of lung cancer than other Ontario and a poor five-year survival of lung cancer," he says.
"This is partly because we have a higher smoking rate in the north-eastern Ontario than the rest of the province."
Hey, when the opportunity came to test evidence of pilot trials, the Sudbury hospital was ready for this opportunity.
The pilot program is expected to find out how best to develop measures for the screening program for the detection of lung cancer in Ontario.
Early detection could lead to a reduction in death
When the pilot started last year, he said that there was a growing interest in potential participants, as the program had handling capabilities. This means longer waiting times for patients.
It adds that the program had additional capacity in 2018 to take a CT scan with a shorter dose in more patients.
"We got a greater capacity to double the number of CT points at a small dose. So now we just want to say that we have more slots and shorter waiting times," says Hey.
Evidence that has been detected in the experiment suggests that early detection can reduce the death rate by 20% for lung cancer.
Hey says this is particularly important because patients who come with lung cancer often do not have a long survival rate.
"Most cases of lung cancer are diagnosed in late stages, where it is already prevalent to other organs," says Hey.
"For this reason, we currently have a very low survival rate in lung cancer."
It adds that the reason for the review is to find lung cancer earlier, then the patient can be treated.
"There is no guess"
Marcel Gravel participated in the pilot.
He says he was glad he did it for what the test could have found. After he was sent to the pilot by his healthcare provider, he uncovered knots in the lungs.
"It was really awakening for me."
"We switched to biopsies and checked to find that, fortunately, [the nodules were] benign. I was one of the lucky ones, "says Gravel.
It comes from a large family of smokers, most of whom say they have left now. Prodnik says he lost his son to lung cancer.
During smoking, Gravel says that there was always an idea of what could happen to him.
"If you've been smoking for a long time and you've smoked so many people you had, there is always something at the end of your mind, there's always the chance of getting you back to persecute you when you get older," Gravel says.
When the opportunity was given to be a part of the pilot, Gravel says he works to help him to find out if there are problems. He also adds that he did not know how the process was to detect lung cancer before joining the project.
"I came to realize that the CT scan was far, far, better. Much faster, much more efficient, and the results are much more stable. There was no more guess," she says.
"I think this is a big, big step forward."
Participants who are interested in getting involved in the program and who are between 55 and 74 years of age with a history of smoking can contact Health Sciences North.