New research supports Alexian CT Lung Scan technology

Arlington Heights 26 October 2006New research published in the New England Journal of Medicine suggests that annual chest Computed Tomography (CT) scan screening of people who are at high risk for lung cancer may reduce the chance of death from the disease. Doctors estimate that 88 percent of the participants whose lung cancer was detected early via CT scan and treated will still be alive 10 years in the future. This rate is higher than the 70 percent five-year survival estimate generally associated with treated, early-stage lung cancer.


Suburban Chicago-based Alexian Brothers Hospital Network began offering CT scans last year as part of an overarching strategy to make this latest disease-scanning technology available to residents of Chicago's northwest suburbs.

"The Alexian CT Lung Scan detects the presence of tiny irregularities or nodules that are too small to be seen in a conventional X-ray", stated Edward Diamond, M.D., an Alexian Brothers Hospital Network pulmonologist. Modelled after Cornell University's and Johns Hopkins Medical Center's national clinical trial programmes, the Alexian CT Lung Scan programme combines advanced CT scanners with the R2 ImageChecker, a sophisticated image-interpretation tool that can identify tiny lesions that are difficult to spot with the naked eye.

The new study was launched by a team of researchers at New York-Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell Medical Center, led by Dr. Claudia Henschke. The study expanded into an international collaboration of 38 institutions in 7 countries. The International Early Lung Cancer Action Project (I-ELCAP) is the largest, long-term study to determine the usefulness of annual screening by CT. "This is compelling evidence that you can use CT screening to find lung cancer, and when you find it early and take it out early, you can cure a high percentage of patients", stated Dr. Henschke.

"Alexian was an early adopter of this technology because we believe in its efficacy", stated Dr. Diamond. The technology is much more sensitive than anything previously available in terms of finding early lung cancer while it is still in a curable state. "We are very encouraged by the results of the new study. This has the potential to be a major breakthrough in early lung cancer detection."

Lung cancer kills more Americans than any other cancer, claiming the lives of more than 172.000 people each year. Most die within two years of being diagnosed because the disease often progresses significantly and goes undetected.

Alexian Brothers Hospital Network will give away a free Alexian CT Lung Scan to the first 100 people who complete an Alexian Brothers Hospital Network smoking cessation programme. Alexian offers several stop-smoking classes, including one modelled after the highly successful Mayo Clinic programme.

To qualify for an Alexian CT Lung Scan, a patient must be 40 or older and have a significant risk factor, such as smoking heavily for 10 years, significant exposure to second-hand smoke, significant exposure to asbestos or radon, or a significant family history of lung cancer. A patient also must have a doctor's order for a lung scan.

The Alexian Brothers Hospital Network is comprised of Alexian Brothers Medical Center in Elk Grove Village, St. Alexius Medical Center in Hoffman Estates, Alexian Brothers Behavioral Health Hospital in Hoffman Estates, and the new Alexian Rehabilitation Hospital in Elk Grove Village. Together these four hospitals are known for advanced medicine and providing unsurpassed treatment and care to the nearly two million residents of Chicago's northwest suburbs.

Leslie Versweyveld

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