In alignment with the UK government’s objective to make England smoke-free by 2030, Westminster announced today that they are launching a national targeted lung cancer screening program to detect lung cancer earlier and provide early treatment.
Each year there are 48,500 new lung cancer cases in the UK. Often due to late-stage diagnosis, lung cancer has one of the lowest survival rates in the country.
There are over 35,000 lung cancer deaths per year in the UK, and overall, 21% of cancer deaths in the UK are caused by lung cancer.
The government is now providing free lung cancer screening to people between the ages of 55 and 74 who have a history of smoking, according to their GP records. This effort aims to detect cancer earlier.
This is the day we have been waiting for…
A national targeted screening programme has been announced for lung cancer.
— Roy Castle Lung Cancer Foundation (@Roy_Castle_Lung) June 26, 2023
Individuals who are at high risk will receive low-dose Computed Tomography (LDCT) scans for diagnosis and treatment where needed. Those who receive negative scans will be invited back for further scans every 24 months until they reach the upper age limit of the program.
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Amanda Pritchard, NHS chief executive, said: “Identifying lung cancer early saves lives, and the expansion of the NHS’s targeted lung health check programme is another landmark step forward in our drive to find and treat more people living with this devastating disease at the earliest stage.”
Pilot Lung Cancer Screening Program
According to the Department of Health and Social Care, the preliminary phase involved inviting nearly 900,000 individuals for screenings, conducting 375,000 risk assessments, and performing 200,000 scans. It produced encouraging results, as 76% of lung cancers were discovered at an earlier stage compared to 29% outside the program in 2019.
Around 600 people with lung cancer have been diagnosed earlier because of NHS mobile lung trucks.
— NHS England (@NHSEngland) April 19, 2022
The nationwide rollout of the program is expected to identify 9,000 cases of cancer per year and carry out almost one million scans. Once it is fully implemented, the program will have an annual cost of £270 million.
“The NHS has treated record numbers of cancer patients over the last two years, with cancer being diagnosed at an earlier stage more often and survival rates improving across almost all types of cancer. Today’s announcement will help us go further and provide a lifeline to thousands of families across the country,” said UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak.
The implementation of the program will occur in stages, with a goal of covering 40% of the eligible population by March 2025 and achieving full coverage by March 2030.
Editor’s Note: The opinions expressed here by the authors are their own, not those of Impakter.com — In the Featured Photo: Doctors examining lung scans. Featured Photo Credit: National Cancer Institute.