The UK NSC policy on Lung cancer screening in adult cigarette smokers
Lung cancer is the second most common type of cancer in the UK, and the most common cancer worldwide. Around 38,000 people are diagnosed with lung cancer every year in the UK. Smoking is the most common cause of lung cancer. Around 90% of cases are due to smoking. Other causes include passive smoking and exposure to certain gases and chemicals.
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Screening should not be offered.
This policy was reviewed in Jul 2006 but no significant changes were made. It is due to be considered again in 2013/14, or earlier if significant new evidence emerges.
Evidence Supporting the Policy
The UK NSC considered data from an American study at its meeting in March 2003 and concluded that the findings reinforced the policy not to offer screening. At the July 2003 meeting of the UK NSC it was noted that a major trial is currently under way in New York (see below).
The use of a breath test to identify people at high risk is also being reviewed and will report later in 2006.
Lung cancer screening trial, New York (PubMed abstract)
The British Association for Cancer Research
British Association of Surgical Oncology
Cancer Research UK
The Roy Castle Lung Cancer Foundation
Royal College of Physicians
Royal College of Physicians of Edinburgh
Royal College of Surgeons
The stakeholder groups will be involved when the policy is next reviewed. If you think your organisation should be added, please contact us.