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Early Lung Cancer Screening

Dr. Jean Bourbeau delivered the Thomas L. Petty, MD, Master FCCP Endowed Memorial Lecture: Pulmonary Rehabilitation and Self-Management in COPD: Understanding the Past to Build the Future at CHEST 2021

Nicole Ezer, MD, speaks to Hugo Duchaine about the early lung cancer screening program which began across Quebec in June 2021. Presently, 70% of lung cancers are diagnosed at a later stage resulting in fewer treatment options and a much lower success rate. Pulmonologists began an early screening program for 55 to 74 year old smokers or former smokers, looking to reverse the numbers and greatly improve outcomes for their patients.

Les gens qui ont l’âge de Mike Bossy et Guy Lafleur [récemment décédés d’un cancer du poumon] sont exactement dans la catégorie d’âge de gens qu’on dépiste, car c’est avec le temps qu’on développe un cancer.

Dre Ezer

Already over 2,300 Quebecers have taken part in the program with 92 referrals to oncologists for follow-up and 13 lung cancer surgeries. A key screening tool used by physicians for early diagnosis is the CT scanner, which can detect smaller cancer tumors, is more effective than x-rays, and gives the physicians and their patients a head start on treating the disease.

Doctors are hopeful that this screening program will evolve into becoming an integral part of annual exams of at-risk individuals. At present the project has a budget of $9 million over four years.

Nicole Ezer, MD, is a researcher and member of the RESP Program at the Research Institute of the MUHC.

Hugo Duchaine is a journalist with the Journal de Montréal.

Read the article

Cancer du poumon: Dépister plus tôt pour sauver les malades, Hugo Duchaine, Le Journal de Montréal, May 7, 2022

For information on the screening the program

Lung Cancer Screening Program / Programme de Dépistage du Cancer du Poumon