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Scotland launches GP blood test for lung cancer

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A scheme to identify lung cancer using a blood test is to be rolled out across Scotland, which has one of the highest rates of the disease in the world.

The test, carried out by GPs, checks the levels of antibodies in the blood, and patients with sufficiently high levels will be referred for CT scan to determine whether they in fact have cancer.

According to health secretary Nicola Sturgeon, this could see lung cancer being diagnosed months or even years earlier than it is now.

Under the pilot, which will run until 2016, some 60 GP practices will test around 10,000 patients who are at risk of developing lung cancer. It is hoped this will improve survival rates.

There is a particular need for the scheme in Scotland. Just under 5,000 people are diagnosed there every year - this is twice as many as the UK as a whole.

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