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Lung cancer screening and early detection key to extending survival rate

BC Cancer can provide free CT screening exam at the hospital in Prince George for at-risk patients
A CT scanner is available at UHNBC for people at risk of developing lung cancer. Early detection can extend survival rates for those who have the disease.

Lung cancer is the most deadly form of cancer in B.C.

Early detection through screening is the key to finding it before the disease progresses. The earlier, the better.

According to the Canadian Cancer Society, for Stage 1 lung cancer the survival rate is 62 per cent. That drops to 39 per cent for Stage 2 lung cancer, 16 per cent for Stage 3 and just three per cent for Stage 4.

The five-year net survival rate for lung cancer is 22 per cent, which means that about 22 per cent of people diagnosed with the disease will live for at least five more years.

Fortunately for northern BC residents, lung screening is available through BC Cancer’s provincewide screening program.

A screening test produces a picture of the patient’s lungs obtained with a low-dose computed tomography (CT) scan.

An estimated 75 per cent of lung cancer cases found through screening are Stage 1, as compared to 30 per cent of cases found without screening.

The scan is free for eligible patients and can be done at University Hospital of Northern BC. Patients who are between 55 and 74 who have smoked regularly for 20 years or more , either currently or in the past, meet the eligibility requirements.

Screening is not available for anyone showing the following symptoms:

•          Coughing that does not go away or gets worse;

•          Coughing up blood or rust-coloured sputum (spit or phlegm);

•          Shortness of breath or chest pain that’s always felt and gets worse with deep breathing or coughing.

If you are experiencing those symptoms call a health provider immediately or go to a walk-in clinic. You can also call 8-1-1 to speak to a Health Service Navigator.

For more information about lung cancer screening visit or call the Lung Screening Program at 1-877-717-5864.