The Lung Cancer Policy Network has published a new report Increasing the earlier detection of lung cancer: a toolbox for change, which recognises the importance of earlier detection for improving outcomes for people with lung cancer. The report also outlines approaches and tools that policymakers can integrate into their health systems to help drive a shift towards earlier detection and diagnosis.
Most people with lung cancer currently receive a diagnosis at an advanced stage; this contributes to lung cancer’s status as the leading cause of cancer mortality. Earlier detection offers a unique opportunity to shift diagnosis to an earlier stage and consequently plays a vital role in improving survival from lung cancer by increasing treatment options such as curative surgery.
Many existing and emerging tools can support the earlier detection of lung cancer. We recognise that targeted screening of people at high risk of lung cancer using low-dose computed tomography (LDCT) is the most effective means of detecting lung cancer at an earlier stage. However, the feasibility of implementing screening programmes can present challenges in some settings. Therefore, alternative approaches can be adopted as part of a comprehensive strategy for earlier detection, as outlined in the report.
The approaches and tools detailed in the report are further supported by expert interviews, a series of case studies, and policy-level recommendations. These aim to facilitate the development of early detection strategies for lung cancer that are tailored to local epidemiology, health system capacity and available resources.
The Lung Cancer Policy Network hopes that this new report can support national decision-makers in making earlier detection an integral feature of cancer control plans. The report offers the tools needed to start taking ambitious steps towards implementing feasible strategies that best serve the differing needs of populations across the globe, and that will ultimately save lives.
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