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Thursday, September 11, 2014

Call for lung cancer screening in UK

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Delays introducing lung cancer screening in the UK could cost thousands of lives, warns a leading cancer expert.

Prof John Field of Liverpool University says planning should start now for nationwide screening of older smokers by the end of 2016.

US data suggests screening can detect lung cancer early, leading to 20% fewer deaths, he told Nature journal.

Currently, 75% of lung cancer patients are diagnosed too late to save them.

Prof Field, who is leading the UK Lung Cancer Screening trial (UKLS), said that in 2012 someone died of lung cancer in the European Union every two minutes.

"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.

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

Trials under way

US guidelines suggest older people with a history of heavy smoking should be offered annual low-dose CT scans to screen for lung cancer.

The test is recommended for people aged 55 to 80 who smoked a...

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