In time for Lung Cancer Awareness Month, the One Stop Doctors private clinic in Hemel Hempstead has launched a new Lung Cancer Screening programme.
The use of CT scanning for early detection of lung cancer has been proven to provide benefit for at risk patients. Macmillan Cancer Report conducted a trial in Manchester in which people at risk of lung cancer were invited to be screened and found that one person in 33 had tumours (i). Studies like this were based on the American Lung Cancer Screening study of >50,000 symptom-free people who had smoked the equivalent of 30 pack years, where spiral CT scanning over 2 years reduced the number of people who died from lung cancer (ii).
One Stop Doctors believes that early detection through CT scanning has the potential to provide significant benefit to patients, a stance that is supported by the NHS who has also recently announced its investment in further trials.
Lung cancer is one of the cancers where survival rates remain low in the UK when compared to countries of similar wealth. One accepted explanation is that lung cancer is diagnosed later in Britain and that the solution therefore lies in earlier detection.
Dr Andrew Barlow, a respiratory medicine consultant at One Stop Doctors, explains some of the pros and cons of lung cancer CT screening:
“ A CT scan, also known as computed tomography scan, is a low dose scan that makes use of computer-processed combinations of many X-ray measurements.
“Although there are potential problems associated with exposure to radiation these should always be weighed up against the perceived benefits. When a Consultant books a scan, this kind of benefit vs risk assessment is always done. As with most screening programmes there is the inevitable consequence of processing significant numbers of patients who thankfully turn out to be fit and healthy. Effective screening naturally requires large numbers of ultimately healthy patients. When managed sensitively, the anxieties that patients do feel can be alleviated through regular contact with clinicians and clear explanations. To minimise the chance of going through unnecessary tests One Stop Doctors have strict inclusion criteria and carefully designed patient questionnaires to try and identify those most at risk.”
Dr Barlow continues:
“Early detection of lung cancer is the key to improving survival rates and remains the clear goal of any screening programme. With UK lung cancer incidence at around 47/100,000/year, this important intervention may influence the lives of many patients. For an area like ours with a population of 550,000, this means 250 new cases of lung cancer present every year. If we can increase the proportion of those that are at an early stage through screening then we will make a real difference to survival”
At One Stop Doctors the inclusion criteria for screening closely mirrors those in the landmark US study published in 2011 in The New England Journal of Medicine [National Lung Cancer Screening Trial]. The most important being any person aged between 55-74 who is or was a smoker with a 30 pack year cigarette burden [at least 20/day for 30 years]. If an x-smoker they need to be within 15 years of their quit date. Symptomatic patients [weight loss, haemoptysis] are excluded, as are those with a previous diagnosis of lung cancer and also patients who have had a CT thorax within 18 months for any other reason.
The lung cancer Screen costs £795, including the CT scan and any follow up screens costing £600.
To contact One Stop Doctors visit www.onestopdoctors.co.uk or call 0333 230 4486
- The National Lung Screening Trial Research Team. Reduced Lung-Cancer Mortality with Low-Dose Computed Tomographic Screening. N Engl J Med 2011; 365:395-409
Published on: November 21, 2017