27 September 2023

The Lung Cancer Policy Network was pleased to join clinicians, researchers and patient advocates from around the world in Singapore at the World Conference on Lung Cancer (WCLC) 2023.

With many Network members in attendance alongside representatives from the Network Secretariat, it was an opportunity to participate in a rich programme of activities. Several Network members were also presenting their work and joining discussions across a wide variety of this year’s conference themes. Below we summarise a few of the many interesting topics discussed.

 

Understanding risk and defining screening eligibility

The conference began with the International Association for the Study of Lung Cancer (IALSC) screening symposium, where there was a lively debate on screening among people who have never smoked, or only smoked lightly. We heard from Dr Hilary Robbins, who emphasised the importance of considering context and local epidemiological data to guide screening eligibility criteria.

Professor Pan-Chyr Yang spoke in favour of screening people who have never smoked but have a family history of lung cancer, drawing on data from the TALENT trial. These discussions were mirrored across the conference, providing much food for thought about what increasing understanding of local epidemiology might mean to the future of low-dose computed tomography (LDCT) screening eligibility and risk modelling.

 

Emerging technologies

We also heard about the emerging use of artificial intelligence (AI) in lung cancer screening, and how it may be applied to support and inform clinical assessments and decision-making. There were discussions around the potential for AI to pre-screen scans and highlight those at highest risk for review by radiologists, ultimately augmenting capacity. Network member Professor Ella Kazerooni discussed efforts to develop universal quality markers for AI, while Professor David Yankelevitz spoke about the role AI can play in assessing incidental findings from LDCT scans, as well as other areas of particular interest.

 

A focus on implementation

We were delighted that Network member Professor Stephen Lam presented our implementation framework, providing case studies of how it could be applied in practice and how it can support policy engagement and decision-making.

In his talk, Professor Lam explained how Network members had collaborated to create the implementation framework, highlighting its potential to be used both by those designing LDCT screening programmes and those advocating for LDCT screening at a local level.

Milena Cavic also reflected on the framework, saying: ‘The Lung Cancer Policy Network’s implementation framework serves as a valuable resource to accelerate progress in screening implementation.’

 

Network member meeting

With so many Network members in attendance, WCLC provided a fantastic opportunity for an in-person meeting. Together, we reflected on what we have been working on in 2023, including the second edition of the interactive map of LDCT screening and our recently launched policy briefs. We also looked ahead to collectively identify key priorities for 2024.

This year’s WCLC provided a real forum for exchange, with the sessions organised to enable plenty of time for questions from the audience. We found it enlightening to be able to listen to so many fascinating options and debates, and to meet with and learn from so many experts in the field. The collective passion and drive to improve lung cancer survival was truly inspiring.

 

What’s coming next?

We will be taking part in the FOKUS Patient Cancer Forum, speaking as part of a seminar on EU recommendations for screening.

We are also looking forward to presenting at the Rescue Lung Society Conference, and we have new resources and reports in the pipeline which we are planning to launch in November as part of our activity in Lung Cancer Awareness Month.

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