Lung cancer screening recommended in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland

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The disease is one of the leading causes of cancer deaths in the UK

New analyses by Cancer Research UK (CRUK) suggest that lung cancer screening programmes could save hundreds of lives if introduced in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

In total, lung screening programmes could diagnose nearly 8,000 more lung cancer patients across Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

Currently one of the leading causes of cancer deaths across the UK, lung cancer is responsible for nearly 35,000 deaths every year.

So far, England is the first country to implement the UK National Screening Committee’s recommendation to offer lung cancer screening to those at the highest risk of developing the disease, aiming to reach 40% of this group by March 2025 and 100% by March 2030.

In its first phase, England’s Targeted Lung Health Check programme detected more than 2,000 cases of lung cancer, 76% of which were caught in the early stages.

CRUK’s recent calculations suggest that lung cancer screening programmes could diagnose up to 4,000 more lung cancer patients in Scotland, 2,400 patients in Wales and 1,400 in Northern Ireland at early stages (stage 1 or stage 2) over the next decade.

Additionally, analyses reveal that if around 50% of eligible people took part in screening, early diagnoses of lung cancer could save up to 2,300 lives in Scotland, 1,000 in Wales and 600 lives in Northern Ireland across the next ten years.

In Scotland, the LUNGSCOT project has been piloting lung cancer screening in the NHS Lothian health board area, which aims to provide evidence to inform the implementation of a screening programme in Scotland.

Additionally, in Wales, Welsh Health Minister Eluned Morgan agreed to assess how targeting lung screening could be developed.

Last month, in areas of England with the highest rates of lung cancer, the NHS and the Roy Castle Lung Foundation launched its Let’s Talk Lung Cancer roadshow in an effort to catch cancer earlier and raise awareness of its signs and symptoms, marking lung cancer awareness month (November).

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