Lung cancer screening increases survival to nearly 90 percent

The mainstream cancer industry relentlessly pushes dangerous, inappropriate and ineffective screenings for breast cancer, colon cancer, and even skin cancer, as I reported last time.

But when it comes lung cancer — the No. 1 cause of cancer deaths among U.S. men and women — the government and mainstream cancer industry virtually ignored a safe, effective screening technique called low-dose computed tomography (LDCT), which I told you about years ago. More about this effective screening technique in a moment. But first, let’s back up…

Experts decide lung cancer is just a “behavioral” problem

Thirty years ago, I personally witnessed the new crop of “behavioral scientist” bureaucrats at the National Cancer Institute (NCI) make a purely political decision that funding for lung cancer would no longer go to researching and discovering promising new leads about the genetic risk and biology. Nor would it go toward finding new, effective techniques for screening or treating lung cancer.

No — they decided lung cancer is just a behavioral problem. And they would only fund studies and campaigns aimed at controlling this “bad” behavior.

So, in one fell swoop, the NCI decided to base its primary “plan” to defeat lung cancer, the nation’s No. 1 cancer killer, on smoking cessation and behavioral modification. But they knew full well most smokers are not susceptible to lung cancer or other “smoking-related” lung diseases. In fact, nine out of 10 smokers never get lung cancer (and 1 out of 100 never-smokers still do).

Obviously, lung cancer involves other factors — but not in the political world of NCI.

As a result of the NCI’s brilliant lung cancer campaign, two-thirds of men and women diagnosed today with lung cancer are former smokers or never smokers.

These cancer victims already took the government’s only advice to quit smoking or never start. So now what does NCI have to offer them?

Nothing.

NCI continued to ignore other treatments and screenings

NCI experts continued to ignore important developments for effective lung cancer screenings recommended by the American College of Chest Physicians, the American College of Radiology, and other real doctors.

In fact, as I reported a few years ago, one so-called public health “expert” at NCI mocked the whole idea of screening for lung cancer. He claimed, without any evidence, that people at risk for lung cancer would not bother to get screenings because they obviously “don’t care about their health” anyway.

Apparently, he based this view on the failed, politically correct theory that all lung cancer victims are irresponsible current smokers…that any smoker must be some form of unreasoning sub-human who deserves to be discriminated against…and that said person does not deserve equal protections from the government.

Fortunately, real doctors and medical groups who take care of real patients know lung cancer may be the one type of cancer where early detection makes a real difference. (Meanwhile, more and more studies question whether early detection for breast, skin and other cancers makes any difference at all.)

Early detection is key for lung cancer

Unlike other cancers, early detection can increase the five-year survival rate for stage 1 lung cancer to nearly 90 percent. Not bad for a cancer that NCI wrote off for decades as “incurable.”

The screening technique I mentioned earlier — low-dose computed tomography (LDCT) — is an excellent way to detect lung cancer at the earliest stages possible, when it’s still curable.

The Lahey Clinic Health System is the leader in LDCT, with the largest lung cancer clinical screening program in the country, currently offered at six locations around the Boston area. In my view, the kind of medicine practiced in the Boston area is far more science-based and advanced than anything they can come up with in the politically correct bowels of the National Institutes of Health in Washington, D.C.

The Lahey Clinic has already screened thousands of people — including members of my own family. It has certainly put many minds at ease. And it was the first facility in the U.S. accredited by the American College of Radiology (ACR) as a Lung Cancer Screening Center.

Amidst the controversy over ineffective mammography screenings for breast cancer, the ACR should be pleased to have one remarkably effective cancer screening technique available for the nation’s No. 1 cancer killer.

The U.S. government is finally catching up. (No thanks to NCI.)

Experts from the Lahey Clinic recently testified before Congress about the importance of early detection when it comes to lung cancer. And their testimony played a major role in Medicare’s recent decision to cover screening costs for people at higher risk of lung cancer.

You can qualify for this quick and easy LDCT screening with a referral from your primary care doctor if you’re between ages 55 and 77, have no current signs or symptoms of lung cancer, are a current smoker or have quit within the last 15 years, and smoked the equivalent of one pack per day or more for 30 years or more. (Or, for example, two-packs-per-day for 15 years or more.)

Someone at the Lahey Clinic must have read our research from NCI published in the American Journal of Public Health in 1991, and other studies, showing no adverse health effect of smoking less than half-a-pack per day — since they know light smokers (who smoke less than one-half pack per day) are not at higher risk. The Lahey guidelines are actually science-based!

If you are a former or current smoker, you can put your mind at ease by making a visit to Lahey Clinic in the Boston area. (The summer and fall weather in New England is the nicest in the country besides.)

Maybe some of the political science bureaucrats at NCI will also come up to Boston and learn something about true “evidence-based” and science-based medicine for a real public health problem. We could all learn something in Boston about preventing the nation’s No. 1 cancer killer, after effectively ignoring it for three decades at our nation’s taxpayer-supported, $33 billion per year cancer institute.


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