Lung Cancer Screening In UK 'Could Save Lives'

Lung Cancer Screening May One Day Become A Regular Procedure In The UK

15.09.2014

With figures showing that lung cancer causes around 35,000 deaths each year and is the most common cause of death from the disease in the UK, there are calls for screening practices to be introduced for the condition, as it is believed this could help to save lives.

This is the opinion of Professor John Field of the University of Liverpool, who wants significant changes made to the detection of lung cancer, as statistics show 70 per cent of sufferers will survive for a year or more if their condition is diagnosed at the earliest possible stage.

However, throughout Europe, a person died of the disease every two minutes during 2012 and 75 per cent of patients are currently diagnosed too late to be saved.

Speaking to BBC News, the oncology expert commented: "It's important that we start to plan for lung cancer screening in the UK."

Professor Field is calling for this, as data from the US has shown that screening can help to detect the disease early, potentially leading to 20 per cent fewer deaths.

He explained: "Screening for lung cancer using low-dose computed tomography (CT scans) could reduce the enormous burden of mortality, through early detection and treatment that improves survival.

"Every year we delay could needlessly sacrifice tens of thousands to the world's biggest cancer killer."

Professor Field is leading the UK Lung Cancer Screening trial, which is drawing on investigations carried out by doctors in the US and Europe.

In America, annual low-dose CT scans are recommended for smokers aged between 55 and 80 who have made their way through a packet of cigarettes a day for the past 30 years, while in Europe, authorities are currently awaiting the results of the Nelson trial, which is being conducted in Belgium and the Netherlands.

While the US data suggests there are benefits to this type of screening, there are also concerns that such practices could prove harmful due to the technology and radiation used.

Expert Opinion
It is always important to constantly review the treatment received by patients, particularly those suffering from cancer, as medical advances are occurring regularly. We welcome the calls for improvements to the lung cancer screening process, as early diagnosis and treatment plays a critical role in the chances of patients surviving and recovering from the disease.

“In our work we have seen first-hand the consequences of misdiagnosis or delays in the diagnosis of diseases, such as cancer, and it is crucial everything possible is done to improve the screening process and patients are given easier access to the procedures that will ultimately lead to an earlier diagnosis and the start of treatment.”
Mandy Luckman, Partner