Lung cancer tests could lead to an earlier diagnosis, saving lives

Only in the hospital, after the collapse of the fluid that was pressing on her heart, Amy Loiacono, 65, found out what was really wrong with her.

“It’s definitely cancer, it’s so big and you probably have 3-6 months to live,” the doctor told her as she sat alone in the room at Doctors Hospital of Augusta. “And of course, my first reaction was tears started flowing.”

Most patients with lung cancer like Loiacon are only diagnosed after the cancer has spread and it is much more difficult to treat, said Dr. Nagla Abdel Karim, a medical oncologist specializing in lung cancer at the Georgia Cancer Center at Augusta University. But if more at-risk patients would benefit from screening, their cancer could have been caught earlier and their prognosis had improved.

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