World-first lung cancer screening facility increases chance of cure

A semi-trailer will be converted into the world’s first mobile lung cancer screening facility to help boost early detection and increase survival rates in rural and remote Queensland where access to specialists is limited.

The truck will be fitted with the latest technology, integrating imaging, breath and blood biomarker screening, as part of a $2 million Australian Cancer Research Foundation (ACRF) grant.

University of Queensland researcher and Prince Charles Hospital thoracic physician, Professor Kwun Fong, said lung cancer had high potential for cure, at 67 per cent, if detected early.

“Unfortunately, two thirds of patients present with advanced disease, when five-year survival is less than four per cent,” Professor Fong said.

“Lung cancer also has a greater proportional impact on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, people in regional and rural areas, and those in lower socioeconomic environments.”

The ACRF Lung Cancer Screening Centre of Excellence (LUSCE) mobile facility, as it’s known, will target Australians living in rural, remote and Indigenous communities with limited access to lung cancer screening facilities.

Professor Fong said the ACRF LUSCE mobile facility will help increase early lung cancer detection at a stage when a cure is possible.

“Early-stage lung cancer can normally be cured with surgery and radiation therapy, but most lung cancers are typically diagnosed late when curative treatments are not able to be offered.

“With lung cancer screening technology accessible to all, we can save lives,” Professor Fong said.

The Australian Cancer Research Foundation has funded innovative cancer research across Australia over the past 37 years.

ACRF Chief Executive Officer, Kerry Strydom, said this world-first mobile lung screening research program aimed to reduce disparity in lung cancer outcomes experienced by Australians living in remote and regional communities.

“We believe this is an important element of ACRF’s grant portfolio and we are proud to enable this pilot study to provide more equitable access to effective screening technology for all Australians,” Ms Strydom said.

“This may well form the basis of a national lung cancer screening program in due course.“

The ACRF LUSCE mobile facility is expected to begin its maiden journey across Queensland in mid-late 2022.

This story was originally published on thUniversity of Queensland website. ACRF has backed $3m of brilliant research at the University of Queensland Thoracic Research Centre.