In just the past few years, mainstream medicine has made a major advancement in one type of cancer prevention. Unfortunately, most people are completely in the dark.
This breakthrough has been shown to be particularly effective in preventing lung cancer. And to my delight, it doesn’t concern a drug, but rather, a simple screening. And it’s already saving lives.
The screening that could save your life
More than one and a half million people die of lung cancer worldwide each year. This ranks lung cancer as the number-one cause of cancer-related death. (And you might be surprised to learn that many of these people have never smoked a single cigarette.)
Currently, the overall five-year survival rates of cancer are shockingly low: 12 percent for men, and just 7 percent among women.
But those numbers are projected to improve significantly during the next decade. The reason? Low-dose computed tomography (LDCT) — a breakthrough technology in lung cancer screening.
In 2002, the National Cancer Institute (NCI) enrolled more than 53,000 people to test LDCT in the National Lung Screening Trial (NLST).
All participants were judged to be at high risk of lung cancer. Half underwent three annual LDCT screenings, and half had conventional chest x-rays on the same schedule. Researchers tracked their medical records through the end of 2009.
Results showed that LDCT use dramatically reduced mortality rates by 20 percent compared to x-rays.
This marked a significant about-face for NCI. But it was a long time coming.
That’s because forty years ago, NCI bureaucrats regarded lung cancer as a behavioral problem. In short, they dismissed lung cancer as a smoker’s disease, completely underestimating the environmental issues that put everyone’s lungs at risk.
So, for many years, they focused their preventive efforts on smoking cessation campaigns, with little emphasis on advancing screening methods.
The NLST is an important and long overdue turnabout for NCI because as we now know, early detection of lung cancer makes a very big difference. In fact, early detection with LDCT increases the five-year survival rate for stage 1 lung cancer to nearly 90 percent.
Making lung cancer screening accessible
Dr. Marc Micozzi recognizes the life-saving importance of LDCT in his Authentic Anti-Cancer Protocol. He’s glad to see it gaining traction in the medical community, especially since for decades, misguided administrators and scientists at NCI simply wrote off lung cancer as “incurable.”
Meanwhile, Dr. Micozzi was following the pioneering research into LDCT conducted at Boston’s Lahey’s Clinic Health System — the first facility in the U.S. accredited by the American College of Radiology (ACR) as a Lung Cancer Screening Center.
A few years ago, Lahey’s Clinic experts testified before Congress about the importance of detecting lung cancer as early as possible. And their efforts were tremendously successful.
“Their testimony,” Dr. Micozzi says, “played a major role in Medicare’s recent decision to cover screening costs for people at higher risk of lung cancer.”
He explains, “You can qualify for this quick and easy LDCT screening with a referral from your primary care doctor if you’re between the ages of 55 and 77, have no current signs or symptoms of lung cancer, are a current smoker or have quit within the last 15 years, and smoked the equivalent of one pack per day for 30 years or more.”
Other risks, still ignored
It’s hard to estimate how many thousands (or even millions) of lives will be saved over the coming years with widespread access to LDCT.
But it’s quite unfortunate that the changes in Medicare guidelines are making the same mistake that NCI scientists made four decades ago: The guidelines are hyper-focused on smoking risk.
As I mentioned in a recent article I sent you, two common lung cancer risk factors are often overlooked:
- Air pollution: Even when air appears clear, you’re still inhaling pollution if you live anywhere near a heavily populated area with traffic.
- Radon pollution: Nearly one in every 15 U.S. homes contains radon levels high enough to boost lung cancer risk.
And when radon and air pollution exposure occur simultaneously, your lung cancer risk soars.
To protect yourself, begin with radon detection and mitigation in your home, which you can read more about in my previous article.
And for added measure, refer to Dr. Micozzi’s Authentic Anti-Cancer Protocol, which describes an array of nutrients, herbal supplements, and dietary interventions that can boost your body’s natural defenses against lung cancer. Simply click here to learn more or to enroll today.
Reduced Lung-Cancer Mortality with Low-Dose Computed Tomographic Screening
New England Journal of Medicine
August 4, 2011