National Early Detection Study Aims to Improve Lung Cancer Survival Rates

    VANCOUVER, Sept. 17 /CNW/ - The Terry Fox Research Institute (TFRI) and
the Canadian Partnership Against Cancer announce the launch of a nationwide
lung cancer detection study, involving 2,500 current and former smokers in
seven cities across Canada. The study has the potential to revolutionize the
detection and treatment of lung cancer, which remains Canada's leading cause
of cancer deaths.
    This made-in-Canada program begins today, with study sites in Vancouver,
Calgary, Toronto, Hamilton, Ottawa, Quebec City and Halifax. It uses a unique
combination of a questionnaire and tests of blood and breath to determine the
effectiveness of these readily accessible and low cost detection techniques
for lung cancer as a first step in early detection, streaming those identified
as being at higher risk to the costlier but more sensitive spiral CT and
    This study is of vital importance, according to lead researchers Dr.
Stephen Lam and Dr. Ming Tsao, who note that, "Early detection and treatment
of lung cancer is the most promising way to reduce lung cancer mortality, and
could see a five-year survival rate of over 70% instead of the current 16%(*) -
that's more than quadruple the success rate without early intervention."
    The study recognizes the need to create a lung cancer detection program
and infrastructure that is both timely and affordable within the Canadian
health care system. The study incorporates data such as a family history of
lung cancer, the presence or absence of chronic obstructive lung disease and
body height and weight, in addition to smoking history and age, to determine
lung cancer risk.
    The study will also examine whether a simple breathing test to measure
lung capacity and a blood test can improve the accuracy of prediction, which
ultimately would help reduce the challenges associated with false positives in
spiral CT scans.
    TFRI Scientific Director Dr. Victor Ling believes that study participants
will be helping to make history in cancer research. "This is an international
first," says Ling. "By using low-cost techniques to identify individuals who
are at risk and recommending them for more in-depth examination, we have the
potential to significantly increase both the effectiveness and the reach of
lung cancer detection."
    The study builds on the best of current international trials in lung
cancer detection, says Dr. Heather Bryant, VP of Cancer Control at Canadian
Partnership Against Cancer. "An important aspect of this study is that it is a
cost-effective way to work with other international initiatives," she says.
The study will give us important information on how to approach any eventual
nationwide approach to early detection in lung cancer, she says.
    Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer death in Canada and around the
world, killing 20,000 in Canada(*) and 1.2 million worldwide. That is more than
colorectal, breast and prostate cancers combined. By 2020, it is projected
that lung cancer will be the fifth highest killer among all diseases.(*)(*)

    Current and former smokers between the age of 50 and 75 who are
interested in participating are urged to call the toll-free study registration
line at 1-888-505-TFRI (8374).

    About TFRI and Canadian Partnership Against Cancer

    Founded and funded by The Terry Fox Foundation, the Terry Fox Research
Institute (TFRI), is a Canada-wide not-for-profit institute with headquarters
in Vancouver, British Columbia. It works in partnership with provincial cancer
research and care organizations dedicated to ensuring today's best cancer
science becomes tomorrow's affordable medicine. TFRI was established in
October 2007, with funding from the Province of British Columbia and the Terry
Fox Foundation.

    The Canadian Partnership Against Cancer is an independent organization
funded by the federal government to accelerate action on cancer control for
all Canadians. The Partnership brings together cancer survivors, patients and
families, cancer experts and government representatives to work towards this
aim. Its mandate is to be a driving force to achieve a focused approach,
helping to prevent cancer, enhance the quality of life of those affected by
the disease, decrease mortality and make cancer control more efficient.

    (*)    Canadian Cancer Statistics 2008, Canadian Cancer Society
    (*)(*) Murray CJ, Lopez AD. Alternative projections of mortality and
           disability by cause 1990-2020: Global Burden of Disease Study.
           Lancet 1997;349:1498-504.

For further information:

For further information: Media Contacts: Pam Ryan, Terry Fox Research
Institute, (604) 317-7262; Polly Thompson, Canadian Partnership Against
Cancer, (416) 619-5782

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