Everyone over 55 who has EVER smoked should get a lung scan to check for cancer

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Everyone over 55 who has EVER smoked should get a lung scan to check for cancer, national screening body proposes

  • Brits older than 55 who has ever smoked should be offered a lung cancer check
  • Recommendations call for checks to be rolled out en-masse to ages 55 to 74
  • Each year, 35,000 people die from the UK’s most common cause of cancer 

Anyone older than 55 who has ever smoked a cigarette in their life should be given a lung scan to check for cancer, a national screening body has proposed.

The UK National Screening Committee (UKNSC) has called for the checks to be rolled out en-mass to tackle Britain’s most common cause of cancer death.

It has advised that anyone aged 55 to 74 who smokes or has done in the past should be offered an assessment.

A low dose CT scan would be offered to those considered to be at high risk of lung cancer, the plans suggest.

Each year, around 35,000 people die from lung cancer, with around 48,000 people diagnoses with the disease most commonly caused by smoking. 

Anyone older than 55 who has ever smoked a cigarette in their life should be given a lung scan to check for cancer, a national screening body has proposed. File image

Anyone older than 55 who has ever smoked a cigarette in their life should be given a lung scan to check for cancer, a national screening body has proposed. File image

Outcomes for lung cancer patients are consistently poor as the cases after often picked up late, experts have warned.

More than half of people with stage one lung cancer live for five or more years after diagnosis.

But less than five in 100 patients with stage four are alive after five years of their diagnosis. 

The recommendation has been supported by Cancer Research UK, with the executive director calling for it to be rolled out ‘as swiftly as possible’. 

‘We welcome this recommendation and urge governments in all four UK nations to roll out a targeted lung cancer screening programme as swiftly as possible,’ Dr Ian Walker told The Telegraph.

‘Lung cancer causes more deaths in the UK than any other cancer type, and screening could save lives by diagnosing people at an earlier stage – when treatment is more likely to be successful.’

The decision to adopt recommendations is made by Government ministers. They usually accept UKNSC proposals, but it can take years for them to be put in place.

In a pilot scheme, the number of stage one and two  lung cancer cases identified was quadrupled when a mobile CT scanner was placed in shopping centre car parks.

The UKNSC previously recommended against the targeted checks 15 years ago, which was the last time it formally considered lung cancer screening in the UK.

More than 70 per cent of lung cancers are caused by smoking. The addiction also increases someone's risk to 14 other cancer types. File image

More than 70 per cent of lung cancers are caused by smoking. The addiction also increases someone’s risk to 14 other cancer types. File image

Its new advice has called for modelling to be done to create more detailed recommendations.  

The committee also suggests that people who still smoke when they are given the lung cancer screening are advised on how to quit.

More than 70 per cent of lung cancers are caused by smoking. The addiction also increases someone’s risk to 14 other cancer types.

Dr Walker called the recommendations an opportunity for Liz Truss to ‘prioritise cancer’, adding that it could significantly impact Britons.

Targeted lung cancer checks are being offered by pilot schemes in 23 areas in England already.   

The schemes have been called a ‘feasible and effective starting point for implementation in England’, screening advisers told The Telegraph. 

Former health secretary Sajid Javid declared a ‘war on cancer’ before quitting the post earlier this year.

Therese Coffey, the new health secretary, has been urged to publish a 10-year strategy for tackling cancer in the UK, following warnings that delays in treatments and diagnosis have hit nearly 55,000 people.

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