CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCBD) – The Ralph H. Johnson Veteran Affairs Medical Center (VAMC) recently received a grant from the Lung Precision Oncology Program (LPOP) to improve lung cancer screening and treatment.

Specifically, the grant provides funding to “stand up lung cancer screening, to make lung cancer screening more accessible…, to provide access to precision medicine… [and] lung cancer clinical trials” to patients diagnosed with lung cancer.

The grant also has a budget to hire clinical staff as well as research staff.

Dr. Nichole Tanner, a pulmonologist at the VAMC, said that “lung cancer kills more Americans and veterans in the US every year than breast, prostate, and colon cancer combined.”

Notably, Dr. Tanner said that lung cancer kills more veterans than any other cancer. This could be because of smoking or because of combat exposures to substances that could be dangerous to the lungs.

Many patients that die from lung cancer are not diagnosed until the cancer has already progressed to late stages. Dr. Tanner says that increasing screening will enable doctors to detect cancer earlier, which can improve patient outcomes.

The Ralph H. Johnson VAMC will help facilitate the improvements at VAMC’s throughout the region.