MARQUETTE, Mich. (WZMQ) – Lung Cancer Awareness Month started as a single day in 1995 and has since grown to take over the entire month of November every year.
Lung Cancer, unlike most cancer mutations, erupts without symptoms. When diagnosis equipment was less advanced, it was difficult to treat. Dr. Matthew Karulf, a Pulmonologist with the UP Health System, explained the advancements in test screening combined with a robotic bronchoscopy procedure that helps medical professionals detect the disease early.
“My team from the pulmonology medicine service is growing we’ve developed a lung nodule clinic. Identify high-risk abnormalities, get them diagnosed, staged, and then handed off to the treating teams,” continued Karulf.
The Upper Peninsula has a lower population than some other areas, which Dr. Karulf noted presents less data for researchers and lung disease specialists to study. The service line allows the team at UP Health System to do more evaluations for the type of lung cancer each patient may have. “The screening reduces the risk of dying from lung cancer by 20% and has a 7% all-cause death reduction,” stressed Karulf.
A major topic around the country is also around artificial intelligence, which is starting the play larger roles in other sectors, and the medical field is no different. “Yes, clearly artificial intelligence is a growing technology with a whole lot of potential if implemented correctly, there’s already some radiographic patterns so taking chest imaging and having artificial intelligence algorithyms try and risk strategy them,” continued Karulf.
Right now lung cancer low-dose CT scan is still the most effective screening, taking X-ray pictures of your chest and lungs to observe any abnormalities as soon as they become visible. These screenings are recommended yearly, for people with a habit of smoking, ages 55-74, and other factors as well. “Those two data points alone but coupled with other variables in the Upper Peninsula make patients up here higher risks for lung cancer, COPD other chronic health problems and so being able to provide a comprehensive program here how do we best move forward how do we best provide your health care,” continued Dr. Karulf.
UP Health System notes that as the scanning technology advances, the treatment addressing cancer is adapting as well.
If you or anyone you know may be at risk, contact your healthcare provider or visit UP Health System Cancer Support for more information.