On World Lung Cancer Day, and every day, we work to raise awareness, improve early detection rates and outcomes for people who are diagnosed with the disease.
Today, we’re reminding everyone just how important getting a national screening programme for lung cancer would be for future generations. For our children and our children’s children, just like Roy Castle wanted.
Last month, Cathy Brokenshire and Fiona Castle appeared on BBC Breakfast to launch the #needtoscreen campaign, highlighting how targeted lung health checks are saving lives, and calling for a national lung cancer screening programme.
Both Cathy and Fiona sadly lost their husbands, Roy Castle and The Rt Hon James Brokenshire to lung cancer, and are picking up where they left off by doing everything in their power to raise awareness and prevent others from losing loved ones to the disease.
The nation responded immediately and took to Twitter to share their reactions to the emotional television feature.
The #needtoscreen case is clear
Sadly, lung cancer remains the biggest cancer killer in the UK. In fact, it kills more people every year than breast, prostate, and pancreatic cancers, combined.
Every year, there are around 48,500 new lung cancer cases. Over 40% of those diagnosed with have their disease detected at a later stage, where options for treatment can be extremely limited.
But we can change this.
Targeted lung health checks are currently in several areas across England, inviting those who are at the most risk to attend a check to see how well their lungs are working.
These targeted programmes are detecting 77% of lung cancers at stages 1 and 2, where the chances of being treated successfully are much higher.
Thanks to this programme, lives are being saved. And more lives can be saved.
Jeff Smith from Salford is one of the many people who had their lung cancer detected early through the Targeted Lung Health Check Campaign.
He said, “When I was told I had lung cancer, the doctor then immediately said I was a success story because they caught it so early. When he said that I thought that I had a good chance of survival – in 18 months time, it would have been a different conversation.”
Improving early detection rates of lung cancer remains one of our key goals. Early detection saves lives.
We are awaiting a decision from the UK National Screening Committee’s public consultation for comments on screening for lung cancer. Following the review of submissions, along with evidence from the NELSON trial, we hope that we will soon receive positive news about the implementation of a programme.
For James, for Roy, and for everyone affected by the disease every year, we will continue to campaign for a national screening programme for lung cancer.