Lung cancer

Govt says no to lung cancer screening program

Thursday, 5 Nov 2015

An Australian lung cancer screening program has been rejected by the Government because of unresolved issues and questions around cost.

In a position statement the Standing Committee on Screening said there was some evidence to support annual screening for people at high-risk of lung cancer using low-dose CT but there were a number of unresolved issues that needed further consideration.

These included the risk of high false positive rates, and subsequent harm from further investigations.

There was also uncertainty around the target population, screening intervals and cost effectiveness, the statement said.

Lung cancer screening was not an alternative to smoking cessation, and primary prevention remained the most important strategy for reducing the burden of lung cancer.

“Efforts should continue to focus on preventing smoking uptake, encourage smoking cessation and minimise exposure to second hand tobacco smoke,” the statement said.

“On the basis of current evidence… [the committee] does not support an Australian lung cancer screening program, either for the general or high risk populations.

“The standing committee will continue to evaluate and advise on emerging evidence on lung cancer screening,” the statement concluded.

For a full copy of the position statement click here.


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