According to a medical expert at the UK Lung Cancer Screening (UKLS), Professor John Field, at least one person dies every two minutes in the EU from preventable lung cancer due to late diagnoses. Professor Field, who is also of the University of Liverpool, therefore calls early nationwide screening of adults and older people who smoked to detect lung cancer and prevent early deaths.

According to the professor, a reduction of 20% lung cancer deaths could be recorded if early screening takes place, because 75% of lung cancer patients are often diagnosed too late for any medical help to prove effective again. According to him, “the good news is that screening for lung cancer using low-dose computed tomography (CT scans) could reduce this enormous burden of mortality, through early detection and treatment that improves survival.” He further added that “every year we delay could needlessly sacrifice tens of thousands to the world’s biggest cancer killer.”

Prof Field calls for this test to begin in the UK by 2016 because it has already started in the US where regulations demand that heavy smokers aged 55 to 80 that smoked a packet of cigarette per day for 30 years should undergo a low-dose CT scan every year. This is to enable medical experts detect any early warning signs of lung cancer and to help for early treatments.

According to Prof. Field, “it’s important that we start to plan for lung cancer screening in the UK. We now have a window of opportunity to do this as we await the Nelson and pooled European trial data, which will provide us with both cost-effectiveness and mortality data. We would hope we will have this data by the end of 2016 and if it confirms the benefits of CT screening, we will be in a position to take lung cancer screening forward.”

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