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AHS launches new lung cancer screening process pilot project

AHS launches new cancer screening process pilot project

Alberta Health Services has launched a new two-year lung cancer screen pilot project.

The Alberta Lung Cancer Screening Program (ALCSP) will offer lung cancer screening using low-dose computed tomography (CT) scans to approximately 3,000 eligible Albertans.

“This is another big step forward for cancer care in Alberta, keeping us among the leaders in Canada in this new approach using CT scans to detect lung cancer earlier and treat it sooner, and ultimately save lives,” said Jason Copping, Minister of Health.

“ It’s also a great example of integration between specialty care and PCNs, a direction we need to pursue as we work to strengthen primary care across the province. I’m so grateful to everyone working in cancer screening and care in this province, providing high-quality, compassionate care to patients and pursuing innovative initiatives like this.”

Albertans may be eligible for screening if they are between the ages of 50 and 74, smoke cigarettes, or quit after smoking for many years, and are a patient within one of three Primary Care Networks in Calgary, Edmonton and Grande Prairie.

Eligible patients can be referred to the program by a primary care provider from one of these three participating PCNs.

For high-risk Albertans with no symptoms, getting screened regularly can lower the risk of dying from lung cancer by almost 25 per cent. Cigarette smoking is the cause of 8 out of 10 cases of lung cancer.

“Screening with low-dose CT scans can detect lung cancer earlier, before someone has symptoms, and when treatment is more likely to be effective,” says Dr. Alain Tremblay, Medical Lead for the ALCSP.

“Without screening, most lung cancers are diagnosed at later stages, when treatment is less effective, as the cancer has spread to other parts of the body.”

This pilot project is funded through AHS and the Canadian Partnership Against Cancer (CPAC). CPAC has made an initial investment of $5.0 million to accelerate planning and implementation in jurisdictions across Canada.