Smoking is considered the cause of lung cancer in 90%, and 80% of women diagnosed with the disease. Lung cancer remains the leading cause of cancer deaths for both men and women. That's because it usually isn't diagnosed until it has spread and can't be cured.
Pulmonologist Dr. George Zlupko says, "by the time they have symptoms, coughing blood then it's usually beyond the stage of cure at that point." That's why Dr Zlupko offers a new early detection program to catch lung cancer in the earliest stages.
Researchers found that in smokers 55 and older who'd smoked for at least 30 years, a yearly CT scan reduced the risk of death from lung cancer by 20%.
According to Dr. Zlupko, "we have, never really had a good screening study or way to early detection, so this is the first thing we have scientifically that can actually impact mortality in this disease process."
The early detection program also includes a laboratory test which checks a smoker's blood for antibodies to tumor cells.
"As you know," Dr. Zlupko says, "tumors start as single cells, so antibody activity towards those cells may be signficant, so a patient like that, we may not wait for a year. We may check them again in six months, just because of that."
Patients at the Lung Disease Center can also take part in a clinical studies. A current one involves a medicine for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) that may have fewer side effects.
The Center also includes a Sleep Disorder Network with six rooms where patients can spend the night for a sleep test, and a new CT scanner.
The Lung Disease Center of Central Pennsylvania is located in a large new building on Chestnut Avenue in Altoona, not far from Altoona Regional. Dr Zlupko has three other physicians in the practice with him.
You'll find more information at www.thelungspecialists.com