It’s a technology that’s helping dramatically reduce lung cancer deaths.
Low dose CT scans have revolutionized early diagnosis and early treatment, but sometimes it’s hard to tell if the abnormalities they detect are really cancer. Now, researchers have discovered something in our blood that could make the scanner even better.
An internet search may have saved Lawrence Moore’s life.
“I just happened to run across the article,” Moore said.
The article about low dose CT scans detecting lung cancer spurred the former smoker to get one. A mass was found, but it was inconclusive. Seven months and more scans later, Moore was finally diagnosed with lung cancer.
“You’re sitting there sort of gnawing your fingernails and wondering what’s happening,” Lawrence said.
Duke University's Dr. Edward Patz says it happens to many patients and can mean more testing or biopsies, but his team discovered three blood proteins which were found to be higher in patients with cancer.
Patz says when an abnormality is inconclusive, images from a low dose CT scan can help determine if lung cancer risk is high or low. The test can be completed in about a day and could help patients.
“It could help patients avoid some unnecessary procedures and not delay treatment in other patients,” said Patz.
Lawrence had a portion of his lung removed within a day of his diagnosis.
“I was very glad it was over with,” Lawrence said.
Now Lawrence is cancer free and his biggest worry these days is watering his orchids.
The doctor tells us using the blood bio-markers and images together is 80 to 85 percent accurate in determining if an inconclusive abnormality is cancerous. If the FDA approves the test, it will cost around $100.