22nd June 2023

Health ministers poised to make decision on lung cancer screening

View all Early detection

A national screening programme for lung cancer could soon become a reality with ministers expected to support its implementation.

It is believed that the Department of Health and Social Care and Downing Street are in discussions about funding levels for the programme, which would control the speed of which a national rollout could occur.

The announcement comes nearly nine months on from the National Screening Committee recommendations for targeted lung cancer screening, following a similar model to NHS England’s targeted lung health checks.

These pilot screening programmes are already seeing incredible success in improving the early diagnosis of lung cancer. Over 2000 lung cancers have been caught through the 43 pilot programmes to date, with 76% of cancers detected at stages one and two.

Steve Barclay informed the House of Commons health and social care committee: “We are now actually detecting more stage one and two cancers in the most deprived communities than in the most affluent communities, and that is because of the lung cancer screening programme that we’ve got in place.”

Paula Chadwick, chief executive of Roy Castle Lung Cancer Foundation, urges health ministers to act quickly:

This is the announcement we have been campaigning for since the National Screening Committee made its recommendation for targeted lung cancer screening back in September, and in fact, since our charity was founded in 1990.

But we are not there yet. We urge minister to act fast – faster than they have been – and expand these fantastic pilots into a national programme that could save the lives of thousands of people.”

Paula Chadwick

The decision is expected later this year, alongside multiple other announcements to improve the early diagnosis of cancer.