UK Lung cancer screening delay could cost thousands of lives

Posted by Samantha Powell on September 19th, 2014 |

Following the release of US data, Liverpool University’s Professor John Field suggested that planning should start immediately for a lung cancer screening service for older smokers in the UK starting in 2016. He warned that delays for such a service could cost thousands of lives.

The data released suggested that screening programmes can detect lung cancer early, leading to up to 20% fewer deaths. Approximately 75% of lung cancer patients are currently diagnosed too late to receive life saving treatment.

Lung cancer kills more than 35,000 people a year and is the biggest cause of cancer death in the UK.

Prof Field is leading the UK Lung Cancer Screening trial (UKLS). “The good news is that screening for lung cancer using low-dose computed tomography [CT scans] could reduce this enormous burden of mortality, through early detection and treatment that improves survival,” he said.

A large research study is testing across Europe whether screening can save lives and a UK pilot of lung screening in Liverpool is evaluating the effectiveness within the UK.

According to US guidelines, older people (55-80) with a history of heavy smoking are suggested to be offered annual low-dose CT scans to screen for any signs of lung cancer. A heavy smoker is defined as someone has smoked a packet of cigarettes per day for 30 years, or the equivalent.

Royal Brompton Hospital has been running the Lung Cancer Risk Assessment clinic for three years in order to offer a private screening service for concerned patients.

The service is led by some of the UK’s leading specialists in respiratory medicine including the Royal Brompton’s medical director, Professor Timothy Evans; Dr Pallav Shah, consultant physician and lead clinician for lung cancer services, Dr Robert Wilson, the hospital’s director of respiratory medicine; and Professor Michael Polkey, specialist in respiratory medicine and consultant physician. The knowledge and expertise of these specialists and their teams are available to anyone with concerns about the risk of lung cancer.

Date: 9/19/14
Outlet Full Name: Private Health
Author: Royal Brompton

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