SUDBURY, ON – In Ontario, lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer death. Lung cancer is responsible for 25 percent of all cancer deaths; approximately the same number of cancer deaths as the next three leading causes combined. Health Sciences North (HSN) announced today the launch of the Lung Cancer Screening Pilot for People at High Risk, a pilot project in partnership with Cancer Care Ontario. HSN was selected as one of the three sites in Ontario.  

“This is the first pilot of its kind in Canada. It will help Cancer Care Ontario learn how to run a province-wide lung cancer screening program for people at high risk of getting lung cancer”, says Mark Hartman, Vice President,  Cancer Services and Clinical Support, Northeast Cancer Centre and Regional Vice President, Cancer Care Ontario.  “This pilot relies on working with family doctors, nurse practitioners and other community partners in the Sudbury, Manitoulin, Elliot Lake, Noelville, St. Charles, Warren, Cartier, and Britt areas. We are paying particular attention to promoting screening for Francophone and First Nation, Inuit and Metis people.”

In the past, there wasn’t a lot that could be done to cure a person with lung cancer because it was often found at a later stage. Now there is a test to find lung cancer early when cancer is smaller and easier to treat. "The majority of lung cancers are diagnosed at an advanced stage when treatment options are limited. Screening for lung cancer in people who are at high risk aims to detect cancers at an earlier stage when a broader range of treatment options are available and better treatment outcomes can be achieved," says, Dr. Michael Loreto, Radiologist, Health Sciences North and Regional Imaging Lead, Northeast Cancer Centre.

If you are at high risk, getting screened regularly can lower your risk of dying from lung cancer by 20 percent. “I was apprehensive leading up to my screening appointment; what happens if they find something? But then remembered why I wanted to do this in the first place. It’s not just for me, but for my family too.” Steven Payne, HSN Patient Advisor. 
The test is free and is covered by the Ontario Health Insurance Plan (OHIP). The pilot is available to over 196,000 residents of the City of Greater Sudbury, Manitoulin, Elliot Lake, Noelville, St. Charles, Warren, Cartier and Britt. If you are 55 to 74 years old and have smoked cigarettes for at least 20 years in total, talk to your healthcare provider or call 1.844.703.0164 to see if you qualify for lung cancer screening.