Mobile CT scan

The UK National Screening Committee (UK NSC) has today (Thursday 29 September) given a positive recommendation for the introduction of the country’s first targeted national cancer screening programme.

At its first meeting following the approval of its expanded remit, the committee recommended that the 4 UK nations should move towards implementing a targeted national lung cancer screening programme, integrated with smoking cessation services, for people at high risk.

Read the UK NSC June 2022 meeting minutes in full.

Targeted lung cancer screening would aim to find people with the disease early when they may not have any symptoms. People are more likely to be cured of lung cancer if the disease is found early before it has spread to other parts of the body. A national programme would have the potential to save thousands of lives.

Targeted screening aims to identify people with a higher risk of a condition beyond demographics such as age or sex. The committee recommended that targeted screening should be offered to the high risk group of people aged 55 to 74 years with a history of smoking. See the full lung cancer screening recommendation.

The Targeted Lung Health Checks (TLHC) programme provides a practical starting point for implementation of a targeted lung cancer screening programme in England. The committee noted that, to help implement a UK-wide programme, more modelling work is needed to help:

  • further refine its recommendations
  • address implementation challenges
  • determine the optimum protocols and pathway for the implementation of screening across the UK

Paula Chadwick, chief executive of Roy Castle Lung Cancer Foundation, welcomed the announcement.

She said: ”This is a huge step forward, bringing us closer to achieving our long-term objective of seeing the introduction of a national screening programme across the UK. We are delighted that the NSC has weighed all the evidence and made this positive recommendation. It has the potential to save thousands of lives and improve outcomes for those diagnosed early, as well as for their families and loved ones.

”Now we urge the people in the four UK health departments to look to implement this recommendation. It can’t happen soon enough. Let’s get on with the job of saving lives.”