Lung cancer is the second most common cancer in The United States in both men and women. 127,000 people will die from it this year.
It’s often caught in a later stage, but when doctors detect it early, it can be cured*
Researchers are now looking at a program – using artificial intelligence – to catch the tiniest cancers that might be easy to miss*
Steven Porter is his family’s historian, curating old photos and tracing his roots on genealogy websites. Porter says there’s no history of cancer in his family but as a former smoker, his doctor advised him to get screened.
“I went and that’s when they found the solid nodule. They took enough of it during the biopsy that they knew they had it all,” said Steven Porter, who was being screened for cancer.
Porter knows he’s lucky and he’s in the minority. Only six percent of all americans eligible for lung cancer screening with a low-dose c-t scan actually get it done.
But now, there’s a new program to detect tiny lung spots, or nodules that might otherwise go undetected.
Ohio state researchers and clinicians have created a system to evaluate all CT scans, not just those of lung cancer patients.
“If they’ve had a heart attack, if they’ve had a motor vehicle or accident. If they’ve had a pneumonia and they undergo a CT scan,” said Jasleen Pannu MD, an interventional pulmonologist at the Ohio State Wexner Medical Center.
The team uses automated natural language processing tools – artificial intelligence – to evaluate written radiology reports.
“If there is a radiologist that has reported a lung nodule of a certain size, these can be flagged and followed up,” Dr. Pannu went on to say.
Dr. Pannu said when nodules are detected unexpectedly, the patient’s CT scan is further evaluated so they won’t fall through the cracks. Steven porter’s screening was scheduled but either way, he knows the importance of catching the cancer early.
“I was feeling fine. I wouldn’t have went, and, you know, next year, it may have been too late,” Steven Porter warned.