19 April 2023

The evening of 29 March 2023 saw three leading stakeholders in lung cancer come together to drive progress in lung cancer screening. The Lung Cancer Policy Network collaborated with two of its members – the International Association for the Study of Lung Cancer (IASLC) and Lung Cancer Europe (LuCE) – and an experienced policymaker from Sweden to host a well-attended event for delegates who were in Copenhagen for the European Lung Cancer Congress (ELCC).

The event allowed experts to share insights on the value of low-dose computed tomography (LDCT) screening along with practical advice on advocating for the implementation of organised screening programmes.

 

Network panellists (left to right): Eleanor Wheeler, The Health Policy Partnership; Ewelina Szmytke, LuCE; Dr Karen Kelly, IASLC; and Penilla Gunther, EU Cancer Mission Board.

Dr Karen Kelly, CEO of IASLC and Network member, opened the event by providing an overview of the current situation in Europe and sharing the strong evidence showing that LDCT screening can help healthcare professionals detect lung cancer at an earlier stage of the disease, potentially saving many lives.

How can we combat lung cancer? I would do it by implementing LDCT screening!

Karen Kelly, CEO, IASLC

This was complemented by a summary of the updated EU recommendations for cancer screening, delivered by Penilla Gunther. As a former member of the Swedish Parliament and a member of the EU Cancer Mission Board, Penilla drew on her experiences to showcase opportunities for advocating more effectively with policymakers.

Ewelina Szmytke, Network member and Vice President of the patient organisation LuCE, explained how we can optimise screening implementation by ensuring that programmes recognise and address the stigma experienced by people living with lung cancer.

These talks generated a lively panel discussion, which centred around how best to engage policymakers, the growing importance of risk factors such as air pollution, and the development of new tools and techniques to facilitate earlier diagnosis, including in people who have never smoked.

Ewelina Szmytke, representative of LuCE and Network member.

We also took the opportunity to share the recent launch of the Network’s framework and online toolkit, which have been developed to support the implementation of LDCT screening. The toolkit includes a template for each domain of the framework and a suite of resources to accompany its application in different health systems.

The work of the Network was also on show at the ELCC. Eleanor Wheeler and Dani Bancroft presented a poster on the interactive map of LDCT screening, whereas other delegates highlighted Network resources in their presentations around ongoing implementation research into LDCT screening in Europe. For example, representatives from LuCE discussed the Network’s Learning from implementation report, interactive map and implementation framework in the session ‘Harnessing the power of screening in lung cancer’.

 

Lavinia Magee, nurse consultant in thoracic oncology at the Royal Papworth Hospital NHS Foundation Trust (UK) and representative of LuCE.

 

Both the ELCC and the Network event showed the value of the Network’s materials and activities, establishing it as a pioneer in the field of lung cancer screening implementation.

 

I know introducing lung cancer screening in every country is not possible overnight, so I think it is very important that the Lung Cancer Policy Network has developed this framework.

Ewelina Szmytke, Vice President, LuCE

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