MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – The WVU Cancer Institute Mobile Cancer Screening Program recently received a White Ribbon from Breathe BioMedical for LUCAS, a first of its kind, state-of-the-art mobile lung cancer screening unit.
Breathe BioMedical is a supporter of The White Ribbon Project and its mission. Each ribbon is handmade and distributed to promote awareness about lung cancer and act as a conversation starter and platform to educate. The White Ribbon was built by the Breathe BioMedical team in Eastern Canada and presented to the LUCAS team as a way to show appreciation and recognize the work LUCAS is doing to reduce the impact of lung cancer in West Virginia. The White Ribbon will be displayed inside LUCAS.
“We are so honored that our friends at Breathe BioMedical chose to recognize us with a White Ribbon for our efforts to reduce the lung cancer burden in West Virginia,” Jenny Ostien, director of the Mobile Screening Program, said. “We are grateful for our ongoing partnership with them and look forward to helping more patients with lung cancer become lung cancer survivors.”
Breathe BioMedical is a medical device company working to develop a platform technology where exhaled breath can be used to detect disease. It has been working with LUCAS for over a year on the implementation of a lung cancer clinical trial that collects breath samples from participants that are then analyzed to identify volatile organic compound markers for lung cancer found in breath. The development of this screening mechanism has the potential to increase access to screening and provide additional options for patients at high risk for developing lung cancer.
LUCAS, a service of WVU Medicine-WVU Hospitals and the WVU Cancer Institute, builds upon the success and infrastructure established by Bonnie’s Bus. In West Virginia, more people die of lung cancer than colorectal, prostate, and breast cancer combined. LUCAS, an acronym for Lung Cancer Screening, travels to the 42 counties in the state without easy access to lung cancer screening.
Similar to mammography, regular lung cancer screening can detect cancer early, when it is easier to treat and cure. Both units are part of the WVU Cancer Institute Mobile Cancer Screening Program and work in collaboration with a statewide partnership of clinicians, public health professionals, and other community leaders to reduce the number of deaths from breast and lung cancer in West Virginia.
Education and awareness are important aspects of lung cancer screening because the uptake has been slow. In West Virginia, only 4.6 percent of the estimated 240,000 eligible residents are getting screened. Increasing visibility, knowledge, and understanding of screening is crucial to decreasing lung cancer mortality. The White Ribbon Project is just one avenue that is being used to address the issue.
According to the United States Preventive Services Taskforce, people at high risk for lung cancer that should be screened are:
- 50-80 years old;
- Have no symptoms of lung cancer;
- Have a 20 pack-year history of smoking; and
- Currently smoke or have quit in the past 15 years.
Those who meet the guidelines should talk to their healthcare provider or schedule an appointment for a screening on LUCAS when it comes to their area.
For information on LUCAS, including its upcoming visits and contact information for appointments, see WVUCancer.org/LUCAS.