A lung cancer screening programme, similar to that seen for breast cancer, could be introduced in England as early as 2017, according to a new report.
The news was revealed in the new cancer strategy document– Achieving World Class Cancer Outcomes, A Strategy For England 2015 – 2020, which was published today (Sunday July 19).
The report noted that results from a number of lung cancer screening studies in high risk people (smokers and ex-smokers) are due in 2016. It went on to call for a screening programme to be implemented within 12 months if the studies find screening to be effective.
The report states: “Public Health England should be ready to pilot lung or ovarian screening within 12 months of a significant positive mortality outcome and cost-effectiveness evidence from studies currently under way, together with a plan for subsequent national roll-out.”
Paula Chadwick, chief executive of Roy Castle Lung Cancer Foundation, said: “Lung cancer is the biggest cancer killer in the UK and, as this report notes, we lag behind many other countries in how well we diagnose and treat it.
“I give my full backing to the recommendations set out in the new strategy, which I believe could help save the lives of many people, who are currently dying un-necessarily from lung cancer because they have been diagnosed too late.
“I am particularly pleased with the recommendations around lung cancer screening. If the current studies find screening does help to save lives then I will certainly be campaigning to ensure a screening programme is introduced as quickly as possible.
“Doing nothing is not an option, we must all work together to make England world-class when it comes to cancer diagnosis, treatment and survival.”
The report called for more resources to tackle smoking, the main cause of lung cancer, along with further national lung cancer awareness campaigns to alert the public to the symptoms they should be looking out for.
It also called for the end to so-called postcode lottery of care, which saw only 6% of lung cancer patients receiving surgery in some areas compared to 31% in others.