Lung cancer screening to be offered at community hubs

Lung cancer screening to be offered at community hubs

Screening for lung cancer could be offered in community hubs across the country after a pilot scheme proved successful at detecting the disease in high-risk people.

The project was trialled in Manchester, where 2,500 55 to 74-year-olds with a history of smoking were invited to mobile screening units in car parks, shopping centres and community pharmacies.

One in 33 showed signs of lung cancer, but importantly, four out of five of the cases were caught early with patients registering at stage one or two of the disease.

Normally, the NHS is only able to detect 20 per cent of cases this early, which has an impact on the efficacy of future treatment.

NHS England is now to set up similar services in London, the north-east and Cumbria, with hospitals and potentially chemists adopting the new methods in a bid to boost detection rates.

People particularly susceptible to lung cancer - such as smokers - and those with possible symptoms will be invited to participate in scans.

Macmillan Cancer Support's Dany Bell said: "It's great news that this pilot scheme is now going to be rolled out across other parts of England. Lung cancer is a notoriously difficult type to diagnose at an early stage, and initiatives such as this make it easier for high-risk people to get their health checked."

In 2014, there were 46,403 new cases of lung cancer in the UK: 53 per cent in males and 47 per cent in females.

Incidence rates have decreased by just seven per cent since the early 1990s and around three-quarters of cases are diagnosed at a late stage.

It is hoped that rates will fall by a further seven per cent by 2035, but better screening projects such as this could have a significant and positive impact on the number of cases.

Education is also likely to be important, with the majority of lung cancer cases occurring in the most deprived areas.