Detecting a Breakthrough: Using Low-Dose CT Scans Signifies Major Step in the Fight Against Lung Cancer

January 23, 2013  |  Mesothelioma

ct-scanIn the past several months, a shift has taken place in the fight against lung cancer. The disease, along with pancreatic cancer, is beset with low survival rates and limited treatment options. Researchers and advocates alike have been working to unite the research field around the goal of reducing mortalities and increase detection methods and treatment options for lung cancer patients. After the events over the last several weeks, their work is paying off.

This month, the Lung Cancer Alliance announced that the American Cancer Society (ACA) has joined LCA in conjunction with several other organizations from around the United States in endorsing low-dose CT screening for people who are considered high risk for developing lung cancer. This signifies a momentous step forward in the movement to improve treatment outcomes in lung cancer patients and the fight against lung cancer.

An individual who is considered high risk for lung cancer and receives a low-dose CT screening has the possibility of catching the cancer in stage one, when there are viable treatments. Options and survival rates sharply lessen as the cancer enters into advanced stages, (typically when symptoms first show), making low-dose CT screening a crucial step in changing the statistics of lung cancer.  

The backing of organizations such as the ACS stem from the National Lung Screening Trial, a randomized controlled study that was headed by the National Cancer Institute between 1992 and 2010. The 18-year study affirmed the theory that people who are at high risk for lung cancer can considerably reduce their mortality risk through low-dose CT screening. Heavy smokers are currently the only recognized high-risk population, although many believe that other high-risk groups should be considered.

Dr. Steven Markowitz is an Occupational Medicine Physician and the Director of the Workers Health Protection Program. He believes that people who have experienced occupational exposure to asbestos and other cancer-causing agents are also at high risk for asbestos lung cancer and should consider low-dose CT screening.

“The use of low-dose CT scans on high risk individuals has the potential to save lives and greatly reduce lung cancer,” says Dr. Markowitz. “I believe that occupational exposures will soon be recognized along with heavy smokers and recommend CT screenings for those who have been exposed to toxic substances such as asbestos, a known carcinogen.”

Dr. Markowitz also says that the low-dose CT screening process is not difficult. If you are a heavy smoker or have been exposed to asbestos products, talk to your doctor to find out where to get screened.

Dr. Markowitz is heavily involved in lung cancer research and presently leads the largest early lung cancer detection project associated with occupational health. The Worker Health Protection program has tested over 10,000 workers who have been exposed to asbestos and other known carcinogens for lung cancer.  For more on Dr. Steven Markowitz and the Worker Health Protection Program, visit here.

Lung cancer is synonymous with overwhelming mortality rates and often carries a stigma of being a “smoking cancer.”  The LCA leads a campaign to shed this stigma and increase awareness of lung cancer as a disease that can affect anyone. The organization was crucial in helping pass the High Mortality Cancer bill in congress.  The cancer bill is a legislative effort to improve the survival rates and treatment options for high-risk cancers with a particular emphasis on lung and pancreatic cancer.

Baron and Budd has represented many clients with asbestos lung cancer and has seen the devastating effects the disease can cause when caught in the advanced stages. The asbestos attorneys at Baron and Budd have followed the work of Dr. Markowitz and the LCA and congratulate their progress in lung cancer detection methods. Many of the firm’s clients thought that because they had smoked in the past, they would not be able to pursue a lawsuit for asbestos-related lung cancer. However, our firm has successfully represented cases such as these, and our asbestos attorneys are available to help you navigate the legal process if you are suffering from asbestos exposure or mesothelioma, regardless of smoking history. To speak with a Baron & Budd asbestos lawyer, visit our dedicated website Fight Mesothelioma.

For more information on low-dose CT screening and for a full list of risk factors and screening centers, visit here.

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