The latest from the New Brunswick Institute for Research, Data and Training

NB-IRDT Completes Evaluation of Cost-Effectiveness of Breath-Based Lung Cancer Screenings

Author: NB-IRDT Staff

Posted on Sep 15, 2022

Category: Partners , Health


Lung cancer is a dangerous, costly disease to treat. In Canada alone, nearly 30,000 people are diagnosed with lung cancer each year, and around 21,000 people die from the disease annually. The cost of treating lung cancer in Canada reaches approximately $2 billion a year, with each case costing around $70,000. Needless to say, this disease is taking a heavy toll on the Canadians who are diagnosed, their families and caregivers, and the health system itself.  

Of course, many initiatives are already in place to help reduce rates of lung cancer, such as through decreasing smoking rates. However, there is one problem surrounding lung cancer that is rarely highlighted: Lung cancer often is not diagnosed until the disease has progressed to a later, less treatable stage. Nearly 50% of lung cancer cases in Canada are first diagnosed as Stage IV cancers. By this point, lung cancer survival rates have diminished substantially, and treatment costs have increased significantly.  

Lung cancer screening rates are currently quite low. To explore options for screening, diagnosing, and treating lung cancers at an earlier stage, researchers at NB-IRDT recently completed a research project for Breathe Biomedical (formerly known as Picomole, Inc.), a developer of spectrometry-based lung cancer screening technology, to perform a cost-effectiveness evaluation of a fairly new screening tool: breath-based lung cancer screening (more specifically, continuous wave cavity ring-down spectroscopy [CW-CRD]). 

Our recently released report examines whether this new breath-based spectrometry screening technique is worth the investment from Canada’s healthcare authorities. Curious to see how breath-based lung cancer screening compares to more traditional CT scans in terms of cost and effectiveness? You can read the report to learn more about lung cancer screening tools and to see our results. 

Related Pages: Breathe: A cost-effectiveness evaluation of breath-based lung cancer screenings



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