BC residents at high risk of lung cancer will soon be able to receive early detection screening.

Today (Monday), the province announced that a new lung cancer screening program offered by BC Cancer has been launched.

This will be the first of its kind in Canada according to the government.

“At a time when we are dealing with the challenges of COVID-19, it’s easy to forget that many families around the province are grappling with a cancer diagnosis. Cancer doesn’t wait for global pandemics, and we know that early detection can save lives,” said Premier John Horgan.

“Our new lung cancer screening program will mean more treatment options, faster recovery, and better outcomes for people around the province. It’s part of our work to keep people safe and healthy – no matter what they’re dealing with.”

The target population for the new program will be adults between 55 to 74 who smoke or have a heavy smoking history.

It’s expected the first participants could be receiving scans by spring 2022.

“In 2020, an estimated 3,300 people in B.C. will be diagnosed with lung cancer,” said Adrian Dix, Minister of Health.

“Through early detection with this new lung cancer screening program, we will see survival rates dramatically improve. Similar to our other cancer screening programs, British Columbia is leading the way. We are proud to be the first province in Canada to establish a lung cancer screening program.”

It is anticipated 300 people will be diagnosed each year through the program.

“This is a truly important day for British Columbians,” said Dr. Kim Chi, vice-president and chief medical officer, BC Cancer.

“Our clinicians and scientists have been working for years to get to this point, which is being made possible by the leadership and investment from the government of British Columbia and our valued funding partners, the BC Cancer Foundation and the Canadian Partnership Against Cancer.”