The Southern Illinois University School of Medicine and the Southern Illinois Healthcare Cancer Institute will collaborate on a two-year study looking at the differences in lung cancer treatments across southern Illinois.
The research will focus on the 16 southern-most counties in the state, whose residents have been disproportionately affected by lung cancer.
“The research will be an integral part of addressing lung cancer disparities that exist in our region," Franklin/Williamson Bi-County Health Administrator Robin Koehl said. "In Franklin County alone, lung cancer mortality rates and cases of lung cancer that are diagnosed at a later stage have long been higher than even surrounding counties. We are looking at groundbreaking work here that will mean earlier diagnosis and longer life."
Researchers hope to identify specific cancers that are disproportionately affecting Southern Illinois residents and determine what obstacles in the local health care pipeline keep patients from receiving specialized diagnoses and care early in their cancer battle.
The study is expected to support the opening of the Pulmonary Nodule Clinic, a center that will specialize in early lung cancer detection and treatment that will have the capacity to track patients through each step of their treatment process. In doing so, researchers will attempt to examine each of those steps for effectiveness and try to identify weaknesses in the care process.