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Lung Cancer Alliance Stands Behind CT Screening for Lung Cancer
Date:9/12/2007

WASHINGTON, Sept. 12 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- While the American College of Chest Physicians (ACCP) came out this week in opposition to CT screening for lung cancer, Lung Cancer Alliance (LCA) reiterated its support for the screening test which can detect lung cancer at its earliest most treatable stage for those at high risk.

"Mammograms for breast cancer faced enormous opposition for decades and there is still heated debate over screening of women under the age of 50. And there are reams of papers showing no mortality benefit for PSA testing for prostate cancer," said Laurie Fenton Ambrose, President of Lung Cancer Alliance.

"These scientific debates are not new, especially when it comes to interpreting statistics about the true benefit of screening," she said. "However it is disappointing and frankly shocking that the ACCP would flatly oppose CT screening for those at high risk for lung cancer when even the government health agency responsible for setting diagnostic guidelines is more balanced," she said.

The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force neither supports nor opposes screening for lung cancer, a neutral stance that it also takes on PSA testing for prostate cancer and breast self-exams for breast cancer.

"It is difficult to take the ACCP guidelines seriously when they are dismissive of screening and only endorse massages and acupuncture for a disease as deadly as lung cancer," she said.

The issue of early detection is critical in lung cancer which is the biggest cancer killer, taking more lives each year than breast, prostate, colon and kidney cancers combined. By the time symptoms, such as a cough or bloody sputum, appear it is usually too late and in most cases death occurs in less than a year.

Since last year, LCA has raised questions and concerns about the validity of underlying assumptions and modeling being used to provide the basis for the ACCP practice guidelines.

Harvey Pass MD, Chief of Thoracic Surgery and Thoracic Oncology at NYU School of Medicine, LCA Board member and chair of LCA's Medical and Scientific Advisory Board said: "These guidelines simply dismiss the mounting evidence which continues to mature from the largest international, protocol-driven screening effort (I-ELCAP) showing that CT screening in a high risk population has the potential to reverse the current 15% five year survival rate."

"Despite these guidelines, individuals at high risk for lung cancer should make it a personal choice after conferring with their doctors as to whether they want to participate in ongoing protocol-driven programs for the early detection of lung cancer using whatever means is being studied," he said.

"The fact is that hundreds of thousands of Americans have already discussed lung cancer screening options with their physicians. Many of those individuals have exercised their choice and consumed their personal resources in an informed decision to undergo spiral CT evaluation for the presence of an early lung cancer," Fenton-Ambrose noted.

"Recommending against CT screening for lung cancer, as ACCP does, is an extreme position that is out of step with current realities," she said.

"As an advocacy foundation committed to the well being of the many individuals at high risk for this lethal disease, we are committed to the aggressive expansion of effective tobacco control as well as for urgent development of responsible measures to advance early lung cancer detection measures. We are eager to work with all professional societies to advance this dialogue in a true evidence-based way to address the unremitting lethality of lung cancer," she said.

Lung Cancer Alliance (http://www.LungCancerAlliance.org) is the only national non-profit organization dedicated exclusively to patient support and advocacy for people living with, or at risk for, lung cancer. As the number one cancer killer, lung cancer will kill more than 160,000 Americans this year alone, causing more deaths than breast, prostate, colon, liver, kidney cancers and melanoma combined.


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SOURCE Lung Cancer Alliance
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