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Study could pave way for routine lung cancer screening in UK

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The prospect of a national screening programme for lung cancer has moved a step closer with the commissioning of a new study by the National Institute for Health Research Health Technology Assessment programme.

The six-month study will assess whether a full clinical trial and pilot schemes should take place on using high resolution computerised tomography of the lungs to detect early lesions suggestive of lung cancer.

Lead investigator Professor John Field, director of the Roy Castle Lung Cancer Research programme at the University of Liverpool, said: ‘Screening to detect the disease before patients develop any symptoms is a method that urgently requires evaluation since surgical resection at an early stage of the disease remains at present the only realistic hope for cure for the great majority of patients.

‘If the results of the feasibility study are promising it will be important to undertake a randomised control trial to assess if CT scanning is the best way forward. Only then would evidence be available to show whether a national lung cancer screening programme should be considered,’ he added.

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