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Lung cancer tests urged for ex-smokers over 55

Lung cancer screening should be offered to over-55s who have smoked, government advisers have said.

New guidance from the UK National Screening Committee has called for a mass introduction of checks for all present and former smokers between the ages of 55 and 74. While the NHS offers routine screening for other types of cancer, including breast, bowel and cervical, there is no lung cancer screening programme.

Lung cancer is the UK’s deadliest form and every year 48,000 people are diagnosed, with 35,000 deaths. The death rate is so high because it is often spotted when symptoms develop and it is too late for treatment. Only 5% of those diagnosed with lung cancer at the latest stage survive for five years, but when picked up early more than half survive.

Officials have recommended targeted screening to cut death rates. It involves a CT scan which takes a detailed picture of the lungs to look for abnormalities.

The National Screening Committee said that targeting all of those who have smoked would reduce deaths because 70% of lung cancer cases are caused by smoking.

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Source: The Times, 30 September 2022


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