Any cancer is scary, but lung cancer is a particularly insidious disease – 70% of all lung cancers are diagnosed in advanced stages. Lung cancer is the most common and deadliest form of cancer with a five-year survival rate of less than 18%. An average of seven British Columbians die each day from lung cancer, making prevention and early detection the key to saving more lives.

Who should be screened for lung cancer?

A screening test can help those who have the highest risk for lung cancer:

  • People 55 and older who are or were heavy smokers
  • Smokers or those who quit within the last 15 years

Did you know?

  • 1 in 2 British Columbians will be diagnosed with cancer in their lifetime – lung cancer is the most common and deadliest form
  • Poor air quality and air pollution have been linked to lung cancer
  • Screening tests help detect problems before symptoms arise increasing the chance of finding the problem early
  • Early screening in BC is expected to diagnose approximately 150 lung cancer cases annually
  • Lung cancer screening is done with a low-dose CT scan. A CT scan uses X-rays, or radiation, to make detailed pictures of your body

Learn more about Lung Cancer Screening

Innovative lung cancer screening pilot program at VGH

Drawing on the expertise of respiratory medicine, thoracic surgery and radiology, the Lung Cancer Screening Pilot Program at Vancouver General Hospital pioneered a new model for lung cancer screening for British Columbians. It is the first large scale demonstration project of its kind in North America.

Launched in 2016, the program’s goal was to enroll 2,000 high risk individuals over three years with a two-year follow-up thereafter. The study was international in scope and examines the value of inclusion of air pollution exposures for risk assessment. It also applied advanced computer technology with the goal of improving efficiency and accuracy of reading large number of screening CT scans, as well as decreasing unnecessary imaging studies or biopsies.

Initial results from the donor-funded study was successful in laying down the groundwork for a first in Canada BC-wide lung cancer screening program.

Lung cancer patients at VGH will now receive additional support through a nurse navigator pilot program, funded by a $1M donation from Della and Stuart McLaughlin.

“We know that low-dose CT scans help diagnose lung cancer at an earlier stage and can reduce lung cancer mortality by up to 20%.”


– Dr. John Yee, Head of Thoracic Surgery at VGH and Director of the BC Lung Transplant Program

Get the latest updates on lung cancer screening at VGH