Posts Tagged ‘screening’

New Program Improves Lung Cancer Detection

Wednesday, July 22nd, 2015


A new study on lung cancer detection presented at the American Thoracic Society International Conference in Denver concluded that long-time smokers and past smokers now have a more accurate way to detect whether or not they have lung cancer using CT scan technology. The study compared CT scans and standard chest x-rays to detect lung cancer. CT scans obtain a multiple-image scan of the entire chest, whereas a standard chest x-ray produces a single image of the whole chest. Results showed that patients receiving CT scans had a 15 to 20 percent lower risk of dying compared to those receiving standard chest x-rays.

The comparative study took place between September, 2014 and March, 2015 and gave CT scans to 375 patients of which 272 were eligible to continue in the program. Of this 272 patients, 19 had results that indicated malignant cancer.  Of those 19, 11 were confirmed malignant.  Eight of the 11 had lung cancer, and 3 had early stage lung cancer. Patients enrolled in the lung cancer detection program were considered high risk for lung cancer and all had a smoking history of at least 30 pack years that is the equivalent of smoking one pack of cigarettes a day for 30 years, and were current or former smokers without any signs or symptoms of lung cancer. The researchers said finding 3 early stage lung cancer patients  in the first 357 patients screened is incredible. Implementation of this program should save lives.

Should Medicare Cover Lung Cancer Screening?

Wednesday, September 17th, 2014


logo1267406_mdA recent study to be published in  the Annals of Internal Medicine and reported by Science Digest concluded that medicare beneficiaries should not be excluded from screening. In the study researchers analyzed the benefits and harm of screening by age and found that even though smoking is the most important risk factor for lung cancer there was a reduction in lung cancer mortality in high risk populations who were randomly assigned to low-dose computed topography (LDCT) verses chest radiography. Age was found to be the most important factor for lung cancer following smoking. Subsequently, the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force recommended annual lung cancer screening with LDCT for people aged 55 to 80 who had ever smoked.

A second study of the data compared screening outcomes among Medicare-eligible people with those under the age of 65. Findings showed that both cancer prevalence and positive predictive value of lung cancer screening with LDCT were higher in the 65 plus group than in the under 65 group.  Researchers recommend sharing the age related findings with data with those in the high risk group (smoking and age factors).

Does Breast Cancer Screening Save Lives?

Wednesday, September 12th, 2012

Does breast cancer screening save lives.  Yes says a new study published in Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers and Prevention that concluded that women who undergo screening decrease their risk of breast cancer by one-half. The study that was the largest in Australia and one of the largest in the world followed around 4,000 women aged 50 to 69  in Western Australia. Four hundred twenty seven women had died from breast cancer and 2,650 control women were still alive when the other women died. Comparing the screening attendance of the two groups they found  women in the group who died of breast cancer had a much lower screening attendance rate. These findings were consistent with those found in an earlier study from South Australia and numerous studies around the world showing an average estimate of 49% reduced risk of death. The researcher said “Sound research methods have been used in this study. I believe it is time to move on the debate about whether screening reduces mortality and to instead direct research resources to helping improve the program for women who choose to use it.”  “Early detection is the key to early treatment and the free BreastScreen program is the best health service available to detect breast cancers earlier in women aged 50-69 years.”

PSA Test for Breast Cancer Detection??

Friday, July 22nd, 2011


Researchers reported in the journal Analytical Chemistry that the PSA may be used as a new test for detecting breast cancer. The prostate-specific antigen measured in the PSA test is a potential biomarker of breast cancer in women but levels in healthy women is so small that most tests will not measure them.
Thus, the researchers built a tiny fiber-optic biosensor using gold nanoparticles and PSA antibodies to detect and report PSA levels via a florescent signal. The sensitivity and specificity of the test for breast cancer are comparable to those found when using it as a biomarker for prastate cancer. It is also believed that the sensitivity and specificity compare favorably to the current screening methods for breast cancer (clinical exam and mammogram).

CT Screening vs X-ray for Heavy Smokers and Lung Cancer

Wednesday, July 6th, 2011


The National Cancer Institute reporting on their National Lung Cancer Screening Trial and published in the New England Journal of Medicine stated that those in their heavy smokers sample who had CT screening had a 20 percent lower death rate than those having x-rays for screening. The trial included 33 sites and over 53,000 current or former “heavy smokers” who were between the ages of 55 and 74. Individuals were randomly assigned to receive either a chest x-ray or CT scan annually for three years starting in the years 2002 to 2004. They were monitored for five years following these annual screenings. Heavy smokers was defined as either a former heavy smoker within the past 15 years or a current smoker with at least a 30 pack year history of smoking calculated by multiplying the number of packs per day by the number of years smoked. A 30 pack year was equivalent to a pack a day for 30 years of 2 packs a day for 15 years.
The date continues to be analyzed to answer some questions raised such as cost-effectiveness because the CT scans produced many false positives. In addition, more research is planned on the value of Ct scans for detecting lung cancer early.

Increased Accuracy with New Prostate Cancer Screening Test

Wednesday, April 13th, 2011


A study to be published in the May issue of the Journal of Urology concluded that a new PSA test for screening prostate cancer is more accurate and specific and substantially reduces false positives compared to the currently used PSA tests based upon a large multi-center clinical trial. The new test could lead to fewer false positives, unnecessary biopsies, and the over treatment of slow developing cancer that would never have caused suffering and death. The test will “focus on the detection of more life-threatening prostate cancers and reduce unnecessary biopsies in men 50 years of age and older.”
The study followed 900 patients from 10 sites and found the new PSA test (Pro-PSA) was especially useful for patients with a normal prostate examination whose PSA was 2 to 10 that is considered a gray zone for prostate cancer because most men with higher levels have prostate cancer and those with lower levels do not.
The Pro-PSA teast has been approved for use in Europe and is being reviewed by the FDA.More information is available at: