The future of lung cancer screening

Published on December 22, 2022

This post is sponsored by the American Lung Association as part of their support of the 2022 Quantitative Imaging Workshop.

Lung cancer is the world’s leading cause of cancer death. While many factors can contribute to lung cancer risk, about 80 to 90% of lung cancer deaths are related to cigarette smoking. There is definitive evidence that screening long-time smokers with low-dose spiral CT (LDCT) significantly reduces lung cancer deaths, but—despite being a non-invasive and quick procedure—current screening rates are low.

It’s factors like these that make the annual Quantitative Imaging Workshop (QIW), convened by the Prevent Cancer Foundation in partnership with the American Lung Association, even more meaningful. QIW is a high-impact, multi-disciplinary forum for the advancement of quantitative CT imaging biomarkers for early thoracic disease management. Each year, attendees explore exciting new biomedical opportunities that arise with the use of these transformational imaging technologies. The Workshop convenes leading stakeholders from industry, academia, professional societies, government and patient advocacy to discuss progress and make recommendations about next steps.

This year’s QIW was held in early November in a primarily virtual format and framed early detection of lung cancer, COPD and cardiovascular disease through thoracic imaging as a cornerstone of effective public health. Sessions covered pragmatic issues with thoracic screening to accelerate the implementation of lung cancer screening, evolving innovations in early detection technology, issues related to health equity and the refinement of imaging to enable the transition to population health. Topics of discussion included:

  • The value of thoracic screening
  • Population health and clinical implications of thoracic CT screening and image quality
  • Screening as a vehicle to achieve health equity
  • Technical developments in screening and AI-enabled workflow integration

The Foundation also presented the tenth James L. Mulshine, M.D., National Leadership Award to Andrea McKee, M.D. and the late Brady McKee, M.D. This award is presented annually at QIW and recognizes individuals who have had a profound impact on reducing the toll of early thoracic disease. Dr. Andrea McKee accepted the award on behalf of herself and her late husband for their contributions to ensuring community hospitals and cancer centers provide equitable access to the highest quality screenings. Their pilot program, established at Lahey Hospital in Burlington, Mass., provided screening free of charge for a number of years until Medicare began reimbursing this service under the Affordable Care Act.

The Prevent Cancer Foundation values its partnerships with its supporters and appreciates the impact we make together on increasing cancer screening and early detection. We are grateful for the American Lung Association’s longstanding partnership with QIW and look forward to continuing to uncover the latest and greatest to further reduce lung cancer screening disparities and encourage eligible populations to receive screenings.

View materials from this year’s workshop and learn more about QIW 2022.

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