UK

Routine scans may catch 70% of lung tumours early: New research that could save thousands of lives

Routine CT scans may catch 70% of lung tumours early: New research could save thousands of lives

  • Health experts are demanding the Government brings in routine CT scanning
  • Scanning smokers and ex-smokers ‘extremely effective’ in catching cancer 
  • It comes following research that CT scans catch 70 per cent of cancers early 

Routine CT scanning could catch 70 per cent of lung cancers at an early stage and save thousands of lives, NHS research has found.

The Summit study, run by lung cancer specialists at University College London Hospitals (UCLH) NHS trust, found that the scans could uncover growths in lungs when the disease was at stage one or two.

Now health experts are demanding the Government brings in routine CT scanning for smokers and ex-smokers.

Around 48,000 people a year are diagnosed with the disease in the UK and 35,100 die from it

Health experts are demanding the Government brings in routine CT scanning for smokers and ex-smokers

Health experts are demanding the Government brings in routine CT scanning for smokers and ex-smokers

The senior investigator of the study, Dr Sam Janes, told The Guardian the findings were ‘a major breakthrough’ for lung cancer.

He said: ‘Lung cancer has never had anything that enabled us to detect this devastating cancer earlier and offer curative treatment to this number of lung cancer patients. 

‘It’s important to highlight how effective CT scanning is. In my lung cancer clinic at UCLH, seven out of ten people have cancer that’s been inoperable, incurable, from the first time they saw a doctor.

‘Whereas with the cancers that we see with Summit, seven out of ten are potentially curable, because they were detected earlier.’ 

The study found 180 cases of lung cancer among 12,100 smokers and ex-smokers aged 55-78 in north central and north-east London, many of whom were from poorer backgrounds.

Dr Robert Rintoul, the chairman of the clinical advisory group of the UK Lung Cancer Coalition, said he hoped a lung cancer screening programme would now be introduced in England. 

He added: ‘Lung cancer is the UK’s biggest cancer killer and early detection offers the best chance of curative treatment and saving more lives. Screening could lead to a 25 per cent fall in the number of men dying of lung cancer and 30-40 per cent fewer deaths among women.’ The study’s findings are due to be published later this year.

An NHS spokesman said: ‘The NHS introduced lung cancer scanning trucks in supermarket car parks to screen those at risk of lung cancer and catching cancers early has remained a priority throughout the pandemic.’ Lung cancer survival has not shown much improvement in the past 40 years, according to Cancer Research UK.

Around 48,000 people a year are diagnosed with the disease in the UK and 35,100 die from it – an average of 96 a day. Only 16 per cent of sufferers live for five years after diagnosis and only ten per cent survive for ten years.

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