LIBBY, Mont., Oct. 15, 2019 /PRNewswire/ -- The Center for Asbestos Related Disease (CARD Clinic) in Libby, Montana, began screening for lung cancer using low-dose CT scans in 2013. In conjunction with International Early Lung Cancer Action Program (I-ELCAP), the program was developed to identify lung cancers at their earliest and most curable stage. ELCAP research has shown that annual lung cancer screening can find 85% of these early cancers leading to significant health and quality of life benefits. The CARD Clinic program is important for individuals with exposure to Libby Amphibole asbestos (LA) who also have a significant smoking history, since both smoking and asbestos exposure increase an individual's risk for developing lung cancer. The program is funded by a CDC grant for early detection of medical conditions related to LA exposure.
The recently published research article titled, "Lung cancer screening in patients with Libby amphibole disease: High yield despite predominantly environmental and household exposure," was published by The American Journal of Industrial Medicine last month. It reports significant results of 1,014 lung cancer screenings conducted over a 39-month period for 567 program participants. 17 lung cancers were identified.
According to lead author, doctor Gregory Loewen, "This study affirms the value of a multifactorial risk model for lung cancer screening, as originally proposed by the National Comprehensive Cancer Network. Current screening guidelines fall short of protecting individuals who have had asbestos exposure but failed to smoke enough to meet the tobacco use parameters and are ineligible for low-dose CT scans for lung cancer screening."
Subsequent to the inception of CARD's lung cancer screening program, Medicare and other health insurances began recommending and covering low-dose CT scans for lung cancer screening, but their guidelines are more rigorous. Of the 17 lung cancers identified in this study, only seven (41%) of the participants would have been eligible for screening using the more common USPSTF criteria, which includes not having quit smoking more than 15 years prior to screening.
CARD Clinic has conducted over 3,000 screenings since their program began. Participants were between the ages of 50 and 84 years, had greater than, or equal to, a 20 pack-year history of smoking cigarettes irrespective of quit date, and had a diagnosis of asbestos related disease. Although individual program criteria vary, all programs recommend regular low-dose CT scans for populations at increased risk for developing lung cancer.
Learn more about CARD Clinic at www.libbyasbestos.org.
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