THE KEY TO BEATING LUNG CANCER IS EARLY DETECTION
PAULA’s Test is blood test which can help you detect lung cancer at an early stage, while it can still be cured with surgery. The test uses a blood sample to analyze protein biomarkers associated with the presence of lung cancer. The test is NOT a genetic test. It does not test for predisposition for lung cancer, it tests for the possible presence of lung cancer at the time of testing.
Annual lung cancer screening of smokers and former smokers is now recommended by major medical organizations including the American Lung Association, the American Society of Clinical Oncology, the American College of Chest Physicians, and the American Cancer Society. In spite of this broad acceptance of the benefits of screening, compliance with the new guidelines is very low.
If lung cancer is detected early it can often be cured with surgery. When found late, 5 year survival rates are 5% or less. Genesys Biolabs offers a blood test to aid in the early detection of lung cancer. When used in high risk, asymptomatic patients, our Protein Assay Utilizing Lung cancer Analytes (PAULA’s Test) can help you measure a patient’s risk of having undiagnosed lung cancer. Recommended for patients who are not undergoing yearly CT screening, PAULA’s Test can help identify patients with an elevated risk of having lung cancer so those patients can be followed up with CT screening.
Lung cancer causes more deaths than breast, prostate and colorectal cancer combined. Approximately 90% of lung cancers are caused by smoking. Heavy smokers and former smokers have an up to 1 in 7 lifetime risk of developing lung cancer.
If diagnosed early enough to be surgically removed before it metastasizes the survival rate for lung cancer can approach 80%. But fewer than 5% of patients with lung cancer are diagnosed at this early stage. Most cases of lung cancer will be diagnosed only after presenting symptoms; when the cancer has advanced to the later stages and curative surgery is no longer an option.
RECOMMENDED PATIENTS FOR PAULA’s TEST
At any time, approximately 2% of patients with a significant smoking history over the age of 50 are estimated to have lung cancer (undiagnosed). Lung cancer also occurs frequently in ex-smokers, especially those who quit smoking late in life. The test is recommended for patients:
- Ages 50 years of age or older, and
- A smoking history of 20+ pack/year smoking history, including ex-smokers who have quit within the past 15 years
The test is only recommended for patients who are currently asymptomatic and who are not receiving annual CT screening for lung cancer.
THE IMPORTANCE OF EARLY DETECTION
The National Lung Screening Trial (NLST), a seven year study funded by the National Cancer Institute reported in 2010 that early detection of lung cancer using yearly spiral CT scans can save 20% more lives as compared to chest X-rays. Unfortunately, the NLST study reported very high numbers of false positives from annual CT scans. In particular, nearly one quarter of all persons screened with CT over 3 years had positive results, of which, 96.4% were false positives.
While CT radiography is an important tool for the detection of lung cancer, most physicians have yet to adopt CT’s for lung cancer screening. Reasons include high rates of false positives, concerns about yearly, repeat exposure to radiation in patients already having cellular mutations from heavy smoking and lack of patient compliance and unnecessary worry. The added burden of recommended yearly screenings leaves physicians waiting on the sidelines, looking for better options to find lung cancer cases in the early stages.
HOW CAN PAULA’s TEST HELP FIND LUNG CANCER EARLY
If you are not currently screening your high risk patients with annual CT’s, your odds of finding a patient with early stage lung cancer are very low. By using PAULA’s Test, you can improve those odds and select those patients at the highest risk . Using PAULA’s test in conjunction with CT, physicians can improve the effectiveness of CT and make early detection of lung cancer a realistic proposition.