Allies In Health Care To Provide Community With Free AI-Driven Lung Screening

AstraZeneca and the Lung Cancer Network Malaysia collaborate to offer free AI-powered lung screening and expert consultations.

KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 16 – To commemorate Lung Cancer Awareness Month in November, AstraZeneca has announced its latest phase of support for the Lung Cancer Network Malaysia (LCNM) by providing complimentary AI-driven lung screenings at the forthcoming LCNM Public Forum.

Lung cancer remains one of the leading types of cancers in Malaysia, responsible for 19.1 deaths per 100,000 people in the country. Alarmingly, 80 per cent of lung cancer patients are diagnosed at Stage Four, which is when the disease has metastasised, underscoring the importance of early screening to hasten the diagnosis and treatment process.

The upcoming LCNM Public Forum scheduled for November 18, 2023, at Menara KEN, Taman Tun Dr. Ismail, will offer complimentary access to AI-enabled mobile chest X-rays and expert consultations for individuals.

This event takes a holistic approach to combating lung cancer, featuring educational sessions with medical professionals and cancer survivors, cutting-edge AI diagnostics, health care exhibitions from leading providers, and engaging activities for all ages, including soap-making workshops, a photo booth, children’s educational sessions, and a wellness-focused pop-up grocery.

In pursuit of bridging the early detection gap to improve patient outcomes, AstraZeneca and LCNM first collaborated under the Lung Ambition Alliance (LAA) in 2021 to introduce AI-powered lung screening in private primary care clinics for the early detection of lung abnormalities, including cancer.

This initiative expanded in 2022, with AstraZeneca partnering with private tertiary hospitals to streamline patient referrals from these clinics for advanced diagnosis using low dose computed tomography (LDCT) scans.

Entering its fourth year, the LAA initiative continues to promote better lung screening, early diagnosis, and drive meaningful survival improvements for people with lung abnormalities.

As part of the LAA efforts, a new public survey will be rolled out to assess health literacy in Malaysia. The survey focuses on the public’s awareness of lung cancer, health care-related behaviours, and perceptions of different treatment options.

Additionally, the survey aims to identify the main barriers preventing Malaysians from seeking advanced diagnosis with LDCT scans.

Commenting on the Malaysian chapter of the Lung Ambition Alliance, Vinod Narayanan, country president of AstraZeneca Malaysia said: “At AstraZeneca, we are committed to reducing the burden of non-communicable diseases such as cancer in the country through early screening and diagnosis for improved patient outcomes. 

“We aim to promote early screening using cutting-edge AI technology for better prognosis of lung cancer by collaborating with local partners and experts within the health care ecosystem.

“Through our long-standing partnership with LCNM, we intend to advance lung cancer diagnosis, making it more accessible and affordable to the wider population. Ultimately, our goal is to make health care attainable to all in an equitable and sustainable manner.”

Dr Anand Sachithanandan, cardiothoracic surgeon and immediate past president of LCNM said: “With AI technology supporting rapid and accurate X-ray assessments, patients can be referred for further diagnosis using LDCT scan, a well-proven screening method.

“This way, high-risk individuals can be quickly referred for curative treatment which is more cost-effective to treat when it’s at an early stage.

“Moreover, the technology also enables healthcare practitioners to detect more than 30 lung-related diseases or pathologies, such as Covid-19, tuberculosis, and lung fibrosis.

“We welcome all from the community to access this cutting-edge technology that will be showcased at the LCNM Public Forum,” Dr Anand elaborated.

Since the inception of the LAA in 2021, around 22,000 individuals in Malaysia have undergone lung cancer screening, with over 500 high-risk patients being referred to selected hospitals for comprehensive examinations.

This partnership exemplifies the importance of taking a multi-stakeholder approach towards reducing the burden of non-communicable diseases (NCDs) in the country for the benefit of people and society. 

Click here for more information about the LCNM Public Forum, and click here to take part in the LCNM public survey. 

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