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UK lung cancer screening plan comes a step nearer; Roy Castle charity backing pilot scheme.

Byline: BY LIZA WILLIAMS Daily Post Staff

A NATIONAL lung cancer screening programme could become a reality, it was revealed last night, as a Liverpool charity undertakes a study into its feasibility.

Professor Ray Donnelly, founder and president of the Roy Castle Lung Cancer Foundation says such a step was once a "pipe dream" but is now a real possibility that would save thousands of lives.

The charity is beginning a study to assess the practicality of a UK-based screening trial (UKLS) for the disease, which will be led by the director of its research programme, Professor John Field, at the University of Liverpool.

Prof Donnelly said last night: "A screening programme would save thousands of lives because early detection of lung cancer is key.

"Survival rates for the disease currently stand at 5% after five years, but, in cases where the disease has been caught early, the survival rates jump to 80%.

"Screening was just a pipe dream when we started out, but now it looks as if it will come about."

The recruitment of people who are at a high risk of developing lung cancer for the trial will be based on the results of the Liverpool Lung Project, which has been funded by the foundation for the last 10 years.

These individuals will be offered high-resolution computerised tomography of the lungs to detect early lesions suggestive of lung cancer.

It is hoped significant numbers of lung cancers will be identified in the early stages which can be successfully operated on, thus improving survival rates.

The results of the trial feasibility study will be used to decide whether a pilot study and subsequently a full clinical trial should be commissioned.

The study has been commissioned by the National institute for Health Research Health Technology Assessment programme.

Prof Field said: "The number of deaths from lung cancer has fallen in recent years, and this is likely to be due to a decline in tobacco smoking although, for the foreseeable future, many thousands of people will continue to die from the disease each year, including a large number of exsmokers.

"Screening to detect the disease before patients develop any symptoms is a method that urgently requires evaluation."

Screening would be of huge benefit to the Merseyside region in particular, which has some of the highest rates of the disease in the country.

Prof Donnelly added: "We are delighted that the HTA has decided to invest in this first stage, which will help inform whether it is feasible to conduct a full trial.

"The Foundation has been investing heavily for many years in the research which forms the basis of this study and our supporters who have raised this money will be very pleased to see the fruits of their efforts."

IF YOU would like to know more about how you can support the Roy Castle Lung Cancer Foundation, contact 0151 254 7200 or visit www.roycastle.org for further information.

lizawilliams@dailypost.co.uk

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The Roy Castle Lung Cancer Foundation is beginning a study to assess the practicality of screening people for the disease

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Publication:Daily Post (Liverpool, England)
Date:Jan 9, 2009
Words:516
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