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Nova Scotia launches screening program for lung cancer

Nova Scotia nurses will assess whether those who refer themselves to the program would benefit from a CT scan of the chest. (American Cancer Society/Getty Images - image credit)
Nova Scotia nurses will assess whether those who refer themselves to the program would benefit from a CT scan of the chest. (American Cancer Society/Getty Images - image credit)

Nova Scotia has launched a screening program for people at very high risk of developing lung cancer.

The province says the program includes a clinical assessment and CT scans, as well as providing information about lung health.

Nova Scotians aged 50 to 74 who have smoked daily for 20 years or more at any point in their lives can contact the program and have a nurse assess their personal risk of lung cancer.

The assessment will determine if they would benefit from screening with a chest CT scan.

People will be able to refer themselves to the program and do not need a family doctor.

"Cancer touches every Nova Scotian in one way or another, either directly or through friends, family or community members," Health and Wellness Minister Michelle Thompson said in a news release.

"Fixing healthcare includes improving cancer screening and care. The lung screening program is the latest of many changes across our cancer care services that will help prevent or find cancers earlier, improve outcomes and save lives."

Disease leading cause of cancer deaths

The program is now available in the province's central health zone by calling 1-833-505-5864. It will be rolled out across the province over the next two years.

The release said the government will be investing $3 million annually in the program once it is fully implemented across all health zones.

Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer deaths in Nova Scotia. About 1,000 Nova Scotians are diagnosed with lung cancer every year and 700 die of the disease.

The Canadian Partnership Against Cancer has contributed $350,000 to the program and is also committing nearly $1 million over the next three years to develop strategies to reach diverse and vulnerable populations.

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