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HANSE study at MHH: Patient with lung cancer on the road to recovery

News 2021-503 EN

The HANSE study has one clear mission: an early detection of lung cancer. The HANSE study funded by the German Center for Lung Research (DZL) and the Lung Ambition Alliance, as the largest German early detection program.

Since July 2021, Hannover Medical School (MHH), as one of three study sites in northern Germany, has been inviting former smokers between the ages of 55 and 79 to undergo a lung check. Prerequisite: an increased risk profile for lung cancer. Since then, more than 600 subjects have been screened for lung cancer at the Hannover site. One of them is 72-year-old Gerhard Lunow. For him, the diagnosis came in good time: the cancer could be detected at an early stage and treated well.

Mobile lung check with low-dose computed tomography

At the MHH, the lung check is performed by an interdisciplinary team from the Institute of Diagnostic and Interventional Radiology and the Department of Pneumology. Subjects receive an examination with a modern and gentle low-dose computed tomography (CT). This can detect lung tumors at an early stage and reduce lung cancer mortality. The examination takes place in a mobile study truck that rotates between the three study sites in Hanover, Lübeck and Großhansdorf near Hamburg. "So far, we have been able to identify more than 3500 high-risk subjects in the HANSE study and invite them for a lung check," says Professor Dr. Jens Vogel-Claussen, study leader and radiologist at MHH.

"Lung cancer often causes no symptoms in its early stages, which means it is often not diagnosed until the advanced or metastatic stage. This worsens the chances of cure," says Dr. Benjamin-Alexander Bollmann, senior physician at the Department of Pneumology. The HANSE Lung Check aims to prove that a holistic and effective lung cancer screening program can be implemented in Germany for people at increased risk. "Using modern low-dose CT, in the HANSE study we are looking not only at early-stage lung cancer, but also at the heart and lungs, to implement a holistic screening in an examination of just a few seconds," Vogel-Claussen says. Before participating in the study, individuals must determine their individual risk profile, which can be calculated on the HANSE study website. Only if there is an increased risk will individuals be invited for low-dose CT. The most important risk factor for lung cancer is smoking.

"For me, there were no signs of lung cancer"

Gerhard Lunow and his wife became aware of the study through their daughter, who works at MHH. "We were skeptical at first, but then decided to participate - with the hope that it would all go well. However, the case was then the opposite for me" says Lunow. For decades, the 72-year-old had always had a cigarette. Symptoms of lung cancer were not apparent to him. "I felt physically fit, there were no signs of lung cancer for me. After the HANSE CT scan, however, I had to learn that I already had lung cancer at an early stage," says the 72-year-old.

Improved chances of cure through early detection

Lung tumors that are detected early have a better chance of being cured. They are often still small, localized and have not yet spread. This makes them easy to treat. After diagnosis, Lunow underwent a minimally invasive surgical procedure at the MHH Lung Cancer Center. After a subsequent rehabilitation stay, the time has now come for him to undergo appropriate follow-up care and monitoring. Further measures such as radiation or chemotherapy are not necessary at this point thanks to early treatment. "Early detection has given me courage and hope that a cure for lung cancer is possible," says Lunow.

Smoking is now a thing of the past

Gerhard Lunow and his wife have drawn a line and stopped smoking. "It does take some effort. But knowing that the condition can be cured and that a certain stability can be expected for the next few years gives me strength. I have smoked enough in my life. Now it's over," says Lunow. In the circle of friends and acquaintances, he and his wife now conduct education and are mediators where it seems necessary to them.


Further information:

Source: HANSE study at MHH: HANSE-Studie an der MHH: Dank Früherkennung Patient mit Lungenkrebs auf dem Weg der Heilung

The HANSE lung check program runs until summer 2023.
Registration is possible online at

For more information about the study, please contact Professor Dr. Jens Vogel-Claussen, scientific director of the HANSE study:


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Date: 31.01.2022/Quelle:

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