400,000 people to be asked to join lung cancer screening trial

Photo: Europa.eu
Photo: Europa.eu

The Netherlands is participating in a Europe-wide lung cancer screening trial in the run up to the introduction of mass screening for the disease.

The first of some 400,000 people between 60 and 79 who are, or were, heavy smokers will be invited in the coming days and weeks to come in for a CT scan, the Telegraaf reported on Tuesday.

This tool, Dutch-Belgian research has shown, is effective at showing up lung cancer in its early stages.

Lung cancer is a leading cause of death in Europe, with a poor survival rate linked to late diagnosis. An average of just 13% of people who get lung cancer in Europe live longer than five years after treatment, research has found.

In the Netherlands, some 14,700 people are diagnosed with lung cancer each year. Most cases, 86%, are smoking related but around 11% are caused by breathing in polluted air, for instance wood smoke. It is thought early diagnosis can prevent between 1,500 and 2,000 deaths from the disease.

Early diagnosis will also ease pressure on health expenditure. Compared to other cancers, it is the most expensive to treat.

The Netherlands currently carries out mass screening for breast, cervical and bowel cancer.

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