Accounting for 27 percent of all cancer deaths, lung cancer is the leading cause among both men and women. Each year, more people die of the disease than of colon, breast, and prostate cancers combined. Smoking is by far the leading risk factor for lung cancer. About 80 percent of lung cancer deaths are thought to result from smoking. Exposure to asbestos, radon gas and other chemicals, excessive alcohol use, or a family history of lung cancer may also increase the risk of developing the disease.
However, evidence shows that the earlier the condition is diagnosed, the more likely it is that the cancer can be successfully treated and the better the outcome for the patient. This reduces the human cost of the disease, as well as the healthcare expenditure. Providers must therefore move their care focus away from treatment of late-stage lung cancer and toward prevention and early diagnosis.
In the UK, where 45,000 people are diagnosed with lung cancer each year, a community-based screening program from the National Health Service (NHS) is starting in April 2019 in Manchester. The aim is to help increase early diagnosis of the disease. Some 15,000 people – smokers, ex-smokers, and other individuals at risk – will be invited for a lung health check in a mobile screening trailer.
The mobile lung cancer screening service, which will use the low-dose CT scanner system SOMATOM go.Up, was developed in a partnership between Siemens Healthineers and the imaging charity Cobalt Imaging. Mobile units like this can bring lung cancer screening to even the most remote locations in the UK, where they can address and reduce the damage caused by cancer, and ensure that the right people benefit from the service.
The success of the Manchester program could lead to more programs being run in other regions – thereby improving the diagnosis and treatment of the challenging disease that is lung cancer.