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Up to 1500 people expected to be screened for lung cancer in Northern Health next year

The province is offering a relatively new program that allows long-time smokers to get screened for lung cancer and, if needed, be put on the fast track to treatment.

Dr. Shyr Chui, a Radiologist at UHNBC in Prince George and Northern Health’s Lung Screening Program Medical Lead, expects as many as 1500 people in Northern Health to take advantage of that each year.

Chui said since May of 2022, the Lung Screening Program “takes asymptomatic patients between the ages of 55 and 74 who have a significant smoking history” for a low-dose CT scan.

“The idea is by picking up cancer early, we can treat it much more effectively before it has a chance to grow and spread,” he explained.

The program is offered at UHNBC and many other communities around the north, like Fort St. John, Smithers, Quesnel, Dawson Creek, Prince Rupert, and Terrace.

People who have smoked for 20 or more years within the 55-74 age group are recommended to be screened once every two years, which the program reminds patients of.

“I would really, really encourage people who are eligible to come for screening,” Chui said. “Most patients who have lung cancer don’t know about it until it gets big enough to cause local symptoms… by then it is very, very difficult to treat it effectively. Catching it early, we are able to offer many patients a complete cure.”

He also assured potential patients the radiation from the CT scan is miniscule and “really, really, very safe.”

“There are very little reasons for not coming for lung screening, and it really could save your life.”

You can sign up for a screening or learn more here.

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