Lung cancer screening


Roundup: Only 18% of Adults Eligible for Lung Cancer Screenings are Getting Them, says American Cancer Society; and More News

American Cancer Society: 80% of Adults Who are Eligible are Not Getting Lung Cancer Screenings

Less than one in five – or 18 percent -- of eligible adults were current on recommended lung cancer screenings, according to a new report from the American Cancer Society. Screening rates were significantly lower among the uninsured, those without regular healthcare providers, and residents of Southern states with the highest lung cancer mortality.

Lung cancer is the No.1 cancer killer in the U.S. every year. And while smoking rates nationwide have been declining for decades, the effects from smoking can linger for years. More than 80 percent of lung cancer cases are caused by tobacco use.

The United States Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) and the American Cancer Society (ACS) recommend annual lung cancer screenings with low-dose computed tomography for eligible high-risk individuals for early detection of the disease. High-risk individuals are between the ages of 50 and 80, have a 20 pack-year or greater smoking history, and currently smoking or quit less than 15 years ago.

The findings by the ACS, based on a nationwide databased of respondents to a comprehensive health survey, were published in JAMA Internal Medicine. Overall, only 18 percent of those eligible for the screenings were up-to-date. Adherence to lung cancer screenings increased with age (50-54 years old: 6.7 percent vs. 70-79 years old: 27.1 percent) and with the number of comorbidities (underlying health issues ( 25 percent vs. none: 8.7 percent). 

“Early detection with LCS is critical because lung cancer symptoms often don't appear in the early stages, but when diagnosed and treated early, survival is markedly improved,” explains Priti Bandi, M.D., scientific director for cancer risk factors and screening surveillance research at the American Cancer Society, in a statement. “National and state-based initiatives to expand access to healthcare and screening facilities are needed to continue to improve, prevention, early detection and treatment for lung cancer to help save lives.”

Baptist Health South Florida offers affordable lung cancer screenings for those at risk, and the screening program can often help if insurance will not cover the cost.

Researchers: Consumption of ‘Energy Drinks’ Could Put Those With Genetic Heart Diseases at Higher Risk of Life-Threatening Arrhythmias

A new study indicates that consuming energy drinks, which contain high amounts of caffeine and other stimulating ingredients, may be linked to a higher risk of sudden cardiac arrest among individuals with genetic heart diseases.

For the study, researchers from the Mayo Clinic examined 144 sudden cardiac arrest survivors. Seven patients (5 percent) within this group had consumed one or more energy drinks near the time the cardiac event occurred. The researchers also looked at the type of cardiac problem experienced by the patients, and the conditions in which the event took place.

While the study did not prove that drinking energy drinks directly caused cardiac arrest, the researchers caution that people who may be genetically predisposed to heart problems, including irregular heartbeats or arrhythmias, should consume these beverages in moderation – if at all.

"The energy drink market in the United States has been growing consistently over the past few years, raising concerns about the potential combined effects of caffeine consumption and additional unregulated ingredients in these beverages,” said the study’s lead investigator, Michael J. Ackerman, M.D., genetic cardiologist at Mayo Clinic and director of the Mayo Clinic Windland Smith Rice Sudden Death Genomics Laboratory in Minnesota, in a statement. “Energy drinks are not regulated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), so researching the effects that these drinks have on our patients is of utmost importance."

Other studies have indicated that “highly stimulating and unregulated ingredients” in energy drinks “alter heart rate, blood pressure, cardiac contractility, and cardiac repolarization in a potentially pro-arrhythmic (irregular heartbeat) manner,” states a news release on the study.

While the researchers concede that there was no direct correlation found between energy drinks and sudden cardiac arrest, they also say other factors may have contributed to the deaths, such as sleep deprivation, dehydration, dieting or extreme fasting, and the use of certain medication. “Unusual consumption of energy drinks most likely combined with other variables to create a 'perfect storm' of risk factors, leading to sudden cardiac arrest in these patients." Stated Dr. Ackerman.

The study was published in the journal Heart Rhythm.

Dr. Ackerman concludes, in a statement: “Although the relative risk is small and the absolute risk of sudden death after consuming an energy drink is even smaller, patients with a known sudden death predisposing genetic heart disease should weigh the risks and benefits of consuming such drinks in the balance.”

NIH Scientists: AI Tool Could Help Predict How Cancer Patients will Respond to Immunotherapy

Researchers at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) said they have developed an AI (artificial intelligence) tool that uses routine clinical data, such as a simple blood test, to predict whether a patient's cancer will respond to immune checkpoint inhibitors - a type of immunotherapy that helps the immune system attack cancer cells.

The research is in its very early stages as a “proof-of-concept,” the NIH concedes. However, the machine-learning model may one day assist doctors in determining the effectiveness of immunotherapy for treating a patient's cancer. The study was led by researchers at the National Cancer Institute's (NCI) Center for Cancer Research and Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York. NCI is part of the NIH.

The study’s results, which analyzed data on more than 3,700 patients and 18 types of solid tumors, were published in the journal Nature Cancer.

“Currently, two predictive biomarkers are approved by the (U.S.) Food and Drug Administration for use in identifying patients who may be candidates for treatment with immune checkpoint inhibitors,” states the NIH in a news release.

The proof-of-concept study focuses a type of machine-learning model that makes predictions based on five clinical features that are routinely collected from patients: a patient’s age, cancer type, history of systemic therapy, blood albumin level, and blood neutrophil-to-lymphocyte ratio, a marker of inflammation.

“The researchers noted that larger prospective studies are needed to further evaluate the AI model in clinical settings,” states the NIH.

Healthcare that Cares

With internationally renowned centers of excellence, 12 hospitals, more than 27,000 employees, 4,000 physicians and 200 outpatient centers, urgent care facilities and physician practices spanning across Miami-Dade, Monroe, Broward and Palm Beach counties, Baptist Health is an anchor institution of the South Florida communities we serve.

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