Routine Lung Check Enables Early Detection of Lung Cancer - European Medical Journal

Routine Lung Check Enables Early Detection of Lung Cancer

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A PROJECT in which people deemed to be at risk of poor lung health are invited to attend a routine lung health check has been highly successful in detecting lung cancer early, before symptoms appear: a stage when the condition is much easier to treat. These are the findings of a report on the impact of the Healthy Lung Programme (LHLP) in the city of Liverpool, UK, which suggests a similar strategy should be employed in other parts of the country.

The report supports the results of the UKLS trial in 2016 which demonstrated the benefits of screening those at high risk of lung cancer with CT scans.

Early Diagnosis and Treatment

Since the programme began in the summer of 2016, 43 cases of lung cancer have been found and treated, with 1–2 new cases detected every month among residents of Liverpool. In total, over 75% of diagnoses were at an early stage; in contrast, typically 70% of lung cancer cases are not diagnosed until a late stage in Liverpool.

Additionally, the project has led to a diagnosis of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) in 10% of those attending a clinic with no previous history of the condition. In the vast majority of cases where diagnosis was made early, action was able to be taken to prevent symptoms from worsening.

“This report provides further evidence for the very successful LHLP project, run by the Liverpool Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), which has very similar results to the UKLS. The LHLP is an exemplar study on how to incorporate Healthy Lung Checks into the primary care community,” commented Prof John Field from the University of Liverpool, which conducted the study alongside the Queen Mary University of London.

More Engagement Needed

The LHLP, organised by NHS Liverpool CCG in conjunction with other institutions, invited residents in areas of the city where lung disease rates are highest, who are aged from 58–75 years, and who have ever smoked, to receive a CT scan to check their lung health.

The only setback is that over half of those invited to this routine check have still not made an appointment. Dr Ed Gaynor, Cancer Lead GP, NHS Liverpool CCG, stated: “The findings in this study are great news for Liverpool, demonstrating how we are finding and treating more cases of lung cancer and COPD than ever before. But we also know that many more people across the city could be putting their health at risk unnecessarily by not attending a lung health clinic when they are invited.”


James Coker, Reporter

For the source and further information about the study, click here.

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