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Perspectives

Lung cancer screening update: where are we now?

Tracy L Leong, Daniel P Steinfort, Kwun M Fong

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Abstract

Screening with low-dose CT can detect lung cancer in its early stages when treatment is potentially curative, and is able to reduce deaths from this cancer. However, there are challenges to overcome and no national screening program currently exists in Australia.

Key Points

  • Lung cancer screening with low-dose CT reduces mortality in high-risk patients.
  • Screening programs for lung cancer have been implemented in the USA and Canada.
  • Feasibility for a similar lung cancer screening program in Australia has been demonstrated.
  • Implementation of a screening program in Australia should involve careful selection of eligible populations and protocols to ensure that the efficacy of screening is optimised and potential harms are minimised.
  • Until then, when contemplating CT screening in an asymptomatic high-risk individual consider whether the intended screening process will be of comparable quality and effectiveness as the National Lung Screening Trial.
  • Decision aids are widely available to help GPs guide patients to reach an informed evidence-based decision.

    Picture credit: © decade3d/Stock.adobe.com

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