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Smokers in Scotland to get lung screening

23rd March 2012

A new trial screening programme for lung cancer has been launched in Scotland.

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Thousands of smokers who have smoked at least 20 a day for the past two decades and are deemed most at risk, will take part in having a simple blood test that detects cancer at its earliest stages of development.

At present, most sufferers are not diagnosed until the disease reaches an advanced stage but early identification of the condition helps significantly improve an individual’s chances of survival.

The Chief Medical Officer for Scotland, Sir Harry Burns, said: “The earlier a cancer is diagnosed the greater the chance it can be treated successfully, and currently 85% of patients with lung cancer remain undiagnosed until the disease has reached an advanced stage.

“This pilot project is part of our Detect Cancer Early programme, which aims to increase the early detection of cancer by 25%.

“By testing those at greatest risk of developing lung cancer, and diagnosing it at its earliest possible stage, we stand a better chance of being able to treat the cancer successfully.

“This means patients can be treated when their general health is better and when less aggressive treatment may be required than if the cancer had spread.”

Under the initiative, 10,000 smokers will be part of the trial which will see half get a blood test which can identify cancer up to five years before it would be detected in other ways, and the other half will not be screened.

Scotland has one of the highest rates of lung cancer in the world.

 

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