The Lung Cancer Policy Network is pleased to see the UK National Screening Committee’s (UK NSC) recent announcement in favour of targeted lung cancer screening.

The UK NSC announced its decision on the recommendation for the introduction of the country’s first national cancer screening programme on 29 September 2022. The recommendation calls for the UK’s four nations (England, Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland) to move towards implementation of targeted lung cancer screening, integrated with smoking cessation services, for people at high risk of the disease.

Professor David Baldwin, Lung Cancer Policy Network member and Honorary Professor of Medicine and Consultant Physician at the University of Nottingham (UK), responded to the new recommendations, saying:

I am delighted to see this recommendation from the UK NSC. The UK NSC commands great respect because of the tough standards applied in evaluating new screening programmes, so this is a major step forward in improving lung cancer mortality. We now face the challenges of implementation and optimisation.

In the UK recommendations, targeted screening for lung cancer is recommended for people aged 55 to 74. They also recognise the clear evidence from clinical trials showing that screening with low-dose computed tomography (LDCT) reduces lung cancer mortality.

Professor John Field, Lung Cancer Policy Network member and Professor of Molecular Oncology at the University of Liverpool, also responded, saying:

The UK NSC recommendation on lung cancer screening will have a major impact on the early detection of lung cancer patients in England. The UKLS trial provided a springboard for a number of lung cancer screening implementation projects throughout England, cumulating in the large NHS England Targeted Lung Health Check. The data from the UKLS trial, implementation projects, together with the international trials NLST and NELSON, have provided the evidence to support the UK NSC recommendation. This UK NSC recommendation now provides us with a pathway to implement a national lung cancer screening programme in the UK.

The Targeted Lung Heath Checks, a model that has been used with success in England, will provide an excellent starting point for implementation in the UK. The Targeted Lung Heath Checks use a wellness approach to lung health: participants are assessed for all lung conditions and offered LDCT scans if they meet the risk criteria, without specifically mentioning lung cancer in order to address any stigma surrounding the disease.

It is very encouraging to see another country recommending targeted LDCT screening. Our hope is that this decision will further encourage other countries to do so.

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