Thursday, June 30, 2011

Controversy Extinguised: CT Scan Versus X-Ray: CT Scan Wins!

Originally published by The Bonnie J. Addario Lung Cancer Foundaton (BJALCF) on June 30th, 2011.  The Joan Gaeta Lung Cancer Fund is a proud affiliate of BJALCF, raising money for its research institute, ALCMI.
San Francisco-June 29, 2011–The New England Journal of Medicine’s (NEJM) headline today read, “Reduced Lung Cancer Mortality with Low-Dose Computed Tomographic CT Screening,” ending a long controversy over the use of an existing but underutilized early detection tool for those at risk for Lung Cancer. Preliminary results of the National Lung Screening Trial (NLST) were first released on November 4, 2010 and confirmed today. The study of more than 53,000 people who either once smoked or currently smoked found there were 20 percent fewer deaths among those who underwent annual screening with a scanning procedure known as a low-dose helical computed tomography (CT) compared with those who got standard chest X-rays.  Click here to read the full article in NEJM.

The findings were so striking that the National Cancer Institute, which helped sponsor the study, halted the eight-year trial early after a panel of experts notified officials about the clear results of an interim analysis and Dr. Varmus released the preliminary results immediately. “Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer mortality in the U.S. and throughout the world, so a validated approach that can reduce lung cancer mortality by even 20 percent has the potential to spare very significant numbers of people from the ravages of this disease,” said Varmus.

The long-anticipated results were in concert with what the Bonnie J. Addario Lung Cancer Foundation has advocated since its inception, in March 2006.

Bonnie J. Addario, Founder of  BJALCF and ALCMI, commented, “This is fantastic news. We knew this, and generated long overdue attention with our national PUBLIC AWARENESS CAMPAIGN to Demand a CT Scan, and our Comprehensive Lung Cancer Screening Program four years ago, which fueled this conversation. Today’s NLST study results support and confirm our intellectual, scientific, personal and practical mission to significantly increase the survival rate for Lung Cancer for the first time in forty years.”

“This is a landmark study and a landmark day for millions of people at risk for Lung Cancer,” said David Jablons, MD, Professor and Chief of Thoracic Surgery, University of California San Francisco (UCSF) and co-founder of the Bonnie J. Addario Lung Cancer Foundation (BJALCF). “This study vindicates numerous pioneering investigators worldwide who have advocated for the utility and benefit of low-dose spiral CT scans for the early detection of Lung Cancer. The results announced today in the New England Journal of Medicine lay to rest the question of using the low-dose spiral CT scan for the at-risk population. CT scans can save lives. It is our hope that third-party payors and insurers will embrace these results which will lead to more screening, a new standard of care and most important, saving lives.”

Scott Santarella, BJALCF’s President and CEO, former President and CEO of the American Lung Cancer Association in New York and former COO of the Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation (MMRF) and Multiple Myeloma Research Consortium (MMRC), stated, “Today's announcement validates our belief in utilizing the tools available to the lung cancer community to diagnose patients as early as possible because we know it saves lives.”

Bonnie J. Addario is a seven-year Stage IIIB CT-scanned Lung Cancer Survivor. She, BJALCF and ALCMI will be presenting at the International Association for the Study of Lung Cancer (IASLC) 14th Annual World Conference in Amsterdam on July 5, 2011. BJALCF and ALCMI are the only non-profit lung cancer foundations ever to have been invited as guests to present a Satellite Symposium at an IASLC World Conference. The Symposium is entitled, “The Way Forward.”

About the Bonnie J. Addario Lung Cancer Foundation (BJALCF)
BJALCF is THE patient-founded, patient-focused voice relentlessly working to increase the survival of Lung Cancer worldwide through early detection, awareness and funding for research. BJALCF was established in 2006 as a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization and has raised over six million dollars for Lung Cancer Research. Contact: Sheila Von Driska, Executive Director, sheila@lungcancerfoundation.org  415.357.1278

About the Addario Lung Cancer Medical Institute (ALCMI)
ALCMI was established in 2008 as a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization with the ultimate goal of significantly impacting survival by catalyzing and accelerating discovery of new and more effective treatment options for all lung cancer patients.
Contact: Steven Young, President, syoung@alcmi.net 203.247.9035

About The Joan Gaeta Lung Cancer Fund
A lifelong non-smoker, Joan Gaeta was a devoted wife, teacher, and mother of five. Diagnosed with Lung Cancer in early 2004, she fought a three and a half year battle before succumbing in July of 2007.

During that time, Joan stressed the need for greater awareness of Lung Cancer, the number one cancer killer in the world, which has a very low survival rate and a tragic lack of research funds. She was most passionate about eliminating the stigma of the disease, since lung cancer also strikes non-smokers at a high rate.

The Joan Gaeta Lung Cancer Fund was created in the fall of 2007 as The Joan Gaeta Lung Cancer Foundation by her husband and children to raise awareness of the disease, to educate the public, and to be an advocate for research. We also strive to eliminate the stigma of lung cancer and to support survivors and their loved ones in our local community.

In July of 2010, they re-launched as The Joan Gaeta Lung Cancer Fund benefiting the Addario Lung Cancer Medical Institute. Their ultimate goal remains the same: “to eradicate lung cancer.”  By partnering with one significant research initiative, they can make a much greater impact in wiping out lung cancer.
Contact:  gaetafund@gmail.com or (404) 987-0792