Building a Business Case for a National Screening Programme

A national lung cancer screening programme is a key measure to reduce the huge burden that the disease currently imposes on the individuals affected, their families and the country and healthcare system as a whole.

Lung cancer kills more people than any other cancer worldwide (18.0% of all cancer deaths) and causes more deaths than breast and colorectal cancers combined – cancers for which many countries already have population-based screening programmes (IARC 2020; Bray 2018; Field 2016).

COVID-19 has dramatically reduced lung cancer referral rates and reduced early diagnosis from incidental findings, driving an urgent need for greater efforts to detect lung cancer earlier.


Lung cancer screening with a non-invasive scan of the lungs (low-dose computed tomography [LDCT]) saves lives by detecting the disease at an early stage when it is potentially curable. A recent large clinical trial of LDCT screening showed a 24% reduction in lung cancer mortality in men and a 33% reduction in women at 10 years of follow-up compared to no screening (de Koning 2020).

Screening high-risk individuals for lung cancer with LDCT is cost-effective. The cost per quality-adjusted life year (QALY) (an estimate that combines years of life with quality of life after a particular health intervention) is within the range considered to be acceptable value for money for public health interventions.

The proposed national lung cancer screening programme will support the early detection of lung cancer by identifying and screening asymptomatic high-risk individuals (smokers and ex-smokers) with LDCT.

The documents below result from work commissioned by the GLCC in 2020, and published in September 2021, to establish clear protocols for making the business case for a national programme of lung cancer screening. They offer valuable and practical resources to present clear evidence to national policy-makers.

You can access and download each resource in read-only Word document or read-only pdf format:

  1. Building the Business Case for a National Lung Cancer Screening Programme –  Word doc / pdf
  2. How to use the GLCC template  – Word doc / pdf
  3. Starting the Conversation – Word doc / pdf

Each of these documents is also available in Spanish (European) here / Cada uno de estos documentos también está disponible en español (europeo) aquí:

  1. Elaboración de la fundamentación económica – Word / pdf
  2. Cómo utilizar este recurso – Word / pdf 
  3. Para iniciar el debate – Word / pdf
RESEARCH - The State of Global Lung Cancer Research - 2020 data now published / NEWS - global COVID-19 updates