National early lung cancer detection study finds nine cancers in six months

    VANCOUVER, June 9 /CNW/ - In six months, nine Canadians have been
diagnosed with lung cancer while participating in a Terry Fox Research
Institute study for the early detection of lung cancer. The study is funded in
partnership with the Canadian Partnership Against Cancer.
    The diagnosed participants live in Halifax, Quebec City, Hamilton and
Vancouver and were enrolled in the program currently under way in these
cities. The early detection study is taking place in three other cities as
well -- Ottawa, Toronto and Calgary.
    "The majority of the participants that we have found to have lung cancer
are in the early stage of the disease, but there are also a couple that have a
more advanced stage of the disease. But this is expected in an early stage
detection program," says Dr. Stephen Lam, one of the study's lead researchers.
Dr. Lam is chair, Provincial Lung Tumor Group, BC Cancer Agency and professor
of medicine, University of British Columbia.
    He says the diagnosed participants are people without obvious symptoms
who took part in the program. Dr. Lam says that if they hadn't participated,
"it is likely the cancer would not be detected until later on when they had
symptoms and by that time most would have an advanced stage of the disease."
    Six hundred people are currently enrolled in the study, which began
recruiting participants last fall and aims to enroll 2,500 current and former
smokers nationally over 24 months. The joint study was announced in September
2008 by the Terry Fox Research Institute and the Canadian Partnership Against
Cancer who are providing $6.6 million in funding over five years. It is one of
many translational research projects funded by the Partnership.
    The study 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 for the costlier, but more
sensitive, spiral CT and bronchoscopy. It has the potential to revolutionize
the detection and treatment of lung cancer, which remains Canada's leading
cause of cancer deaths.
    "A unique aspect of this study is that we are using a risk assessment
model using multiple parameters which can actually decipher who is truly at
risk for lung cancer. This is much better than other models that have been
used before. This model is very unique and accurate because it incorporates
family history, educational level, body mass index, and also if there is a
history of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease in addition to age and
smoking," says Dr. Lam.
    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.(xx)
    "This study is designed to evaluate the possibility of combining low-cost
techniques to identify more accurately individuals who are at risk for lung
cancer. The study participants are making history in cancer research by
contributing to the development and potential implementation of a national
early lung cancer detection program that is timely and affordable," says TFRI
President and Scientific Director Dr. Victor Ling.
    The study is still open for recruitment. Current or former smokers 50
years of age or older who have smoked for 30 years or more who are interested
to find out if they are eligible to take part can call: 1-888-505-TFRI (8374).


    Interviews with study participants (at various sites) may be arranged

    About TFRI
    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.

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

    Lung Study/Participating Centres

    BC Cancer Agency, Vancouver, BC 1-888-988-LUNG (5864)
    University of Calgary, Health and Sciences Centre, Calgary AB
    Juravinski Cancer Centre, Hamilton ON 1-866-966-LUNG (5864)
    Princess Margaret Hospital, Toronto ON 1 866 866 4922
    Ottawa Hospital Regional Cancer Centre, ON 1-613-737-7700 ext. 75212
    Hopital Laval, Quebec City, QC 1-877-262-0222
    Queen Elizabeth II Health Sciences Centre, Halifax NS 1-902-473-1913

For further information:

For further information: Media Contacts: Kelly Curwin, Terry Fox
Research Institute, (604) 675-8000 ext. 7606,,

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