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Grant Expands Early Lung Cancer Screening In Northern Illinois


A new grant will help researchers try to increase the survival rate for lung cancer.

The Community Foundation of Northern Illinois recently awarded a $100,000 grant to the University of Illinois College of Medicine at Rockford for lung cancer screening and research. Associate Professor Dr. Neelu Puri said it will pay for further research into treatment and expand the use of a technique called low-dose computed tomography.

“The technology of this is a little bit more advanced than a chest CT for detection of nodules in the lung, and also the amount of radiation which this actually exposes a person to is much less than a chest X-ray,” she said. 

Puri said early detection allows doctors to take action sooner against growth in the lungs. 

“Your chances of survival are almost 60%. But if you are detected at the late stage, they cannot remove the tumor, and chemotherapy and radiation therapy are the only means of your survival," she said. 

In those late-stage cases, Puri said the survival rate is usually around 6%.  The grant will expand this technique's use further into Winnebago, Boone, Ogle, and Stephenson Counties.   

Major causes of lung cancer in the area include smoking and the buildup of radon gas. More than 200 cases of lung cancer are identified in Winnebago County alone each year.