The National Screening Committee has today recommended the introduction of targeted lung cancer screening.
Paula Chadwick, chief executive of Roy Castle Lung Cancer Foundation, comments on this landmark moment:
“To say we are delighted by today’s announcement is an understatement.
In 1990, our charity was founded to improve the early detection of lung cancer. Today we take the biggest step forward in achieving this and saving thousands of lives.
During the last 30 years, we have campaigned for a national screening programme for lung cancer because we know it can significantly improve outcomes for those who are most at risk of this devastating disease.
But it is far from the end of the story. First of all, we need the Health Departments to support this recommendation and make lung cancer screening a reality, and even then, our work does not stop. It is by no means ‘job done’. We remain committed to supporting everyone affected by lung cancer to ensure everyone is diagnosed at the earliest possibility.Paula Chadwick, chief executive of Roy Castle Lung Cancer Foundation
We have funded research to add to the growing evidence that screening high risk individuals can detect lung cancer at the earliest opportunity, often before symptoms even start to show, including our own lung health check pilot in Nottingham.
Most recently, we have been supporting NHS England and its Targeted Lung Health Check programme by raising awareness of the checks through a number of marketing and community-based initiatives across the country.
To date, 77% of cancers diagnosed through these checks have been caught at stages 1 and 2, when it is easier to treat with curative intent. This turns current early detection rates on its head, and we hope, finally improve long-term survival of a disease which has remained stubbornly low for decades.
During our work with the NHS, we have had the pleasure to meet and share the experiences of numerous people who lives were saved because of these checks and now, with today’s announcement we hope we can look forward to saving many, many more.
I am not ashamed to admit that I feel incredibly emotional today. This year, I celebrated my 25th anniversary at this wonderful charity and throughout those silver years, there have been many challenges. There have been times that were bleak, times we felt hopeless, when all our hard work seemed futile.
We never faltered though. We never gave up because there was so much at stake. There were too many lives on the line and whilst we acknowledge and appreciate lung cancer screening, as with all screening programmes, will not be available to everyone, today’s announcement is one to be welcomed with open arms and celebrated. It is a massive step forward in our fight against lung cancer.
But it is far from the end of the story. First of all, we need the Health Departments to support this recommendation and make lung cancer screening a reality, and even then, our work does not stop. It is by no means ‘job done’. We remain committed to supporting everyone affected by lung cancer to ensure everyone is diagnosed at the earliest possibility.
Our ongoing work in symptom awareness, challenging disease misconception and empowering self-advocacy remains vital and at our core, as does our research into the development of new early diagnostic techniques, including blood tests and sputum swabs. But right now, we will take a momentarily pause to comprehend the magnitude of today’s announcement. We will take a breath to grasp that what started off as a wild pipedream is now so close to becoming a reality. We will allow ourselves to glance ahead and envisage the now brighter future for so many people affected by lung cancer. We will enjoy this hard fought moment, and then we will get back to work.”