Earlier stage at diagnosis is associated with improved lung cancer outcomes, including survival
Welcome to the Lung Cancer Screening information centre
Here you will find information, news and updates.
Lung cancer screening update – May 2021
The Australian Government has announced it will invest $6.9 million to commence the early scoping of a potential national lung cancer screening program from 1 July 2021, to increase early diagnosis and survivorship, and improve lung cancer outcomes.
Cancer Australia, in partnership with the Australian Government Department of Health, will lead the collaborative engagement of key stakeholders in the early design of a potential national lung cancer screening program comprising 2-yearly low-dose computed tomography (LDCT) scans in high-risk individuals.
The funding will also support the scoping and consideration of the Information Communications and Technology requirements of a potential national program and fund new cancer care nurses in 2021-22 for immediate support to people diagnosed with lung cancer. The burden of lung cancer in Australia is significant. Lung cancer is the fifth most commonly diagnosed cancer, the leading cause of cancer death, and has a low five-year survival rate (around 18%).
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and those living in remote, very remote areas and areas of greatest socioeconomic disadvantage are disproportionally affected by lung cancer, with higher lung cancer incidence and mortality in these groups.
The key to improving survival and quality of life of Australians affected by lung cancer is to diagnose lung cancer early. Cancer Australia’s Lung Cancer Screening Enquiry estimated that in the first 10 years of a national targeted, risk-based screening program, around 70% of lung cancers would be diagnosed at an early stage, over 12,000 deaths would be prevented and up to 50,000 quality adjusted life years would be gained. Importantly, such a screening program would reduce lung cancer mortality in Australia by 20% in the screened population.
Information on the progress of this initiative will be made available on the web page.
Report on the Lung Cancer Screening enquiry - 30 November 2020
Cancer Australia’s enquiry into the prospects, process and delivery of a national lung cancer screening program in Australia is concluded. To view the Report on the Lung Cancer Screening Enquiry, follow the link here.
Update on the Lung Cancer Screening enquiry - October 2020
Cancer Australia has concluded the Lung Cancer Screening enquiry to investigate the prospects, process and delivery of a national lung cancer screening program for people at high risk of lung cancer in Australia.
We are pleased to advise that Professor Dorothy Keefe, CEO, delivered the report on the Lung Cancer Screening enquiry to the Minister for Health, the Hon. Greg Hunt MP in October 2020.
The comprehensive enquiry reviewed national and international evidence and was informed by extensive and inclusive stakeholder consultation. The enquiry also considered how to design and deliver a national lung cancer screening program in Australia.
Lung cancer is the fifth most common cancer diagnosed in Australia and causes more deaths than any other cancer. Early diagnosis of lung cancer is critical to improving outcomes, with more than 50% of lung cancer cases being diagnosed at an advanced stage.
Announcement on the Lung Cancer Screening enquiry - August 2019
On 1 August 2019, the Minister for Health, the Hon Greg Hunt MP, invited Cancer Australia to conduct an enquiry into the prospects, process and delivery of a National Lung Cancer Screening Program in Australia.
The announcement recognised the ongoing research into lung cancer screening and acknowledged the importance of continuing efforts to reduce deaths from lung cancer.
Cancer Australia is adopting an evidence-based approach to undertake the enquiry, underpinned by a consultative process.
Cancer Australia held a Lung Cancer Screening Workshop on 18 September 2019. The workshop brought together consumers, key opinion leaders, health providers, policy makers, expert advisors and representatives from peak cancer bodies and professional colleges. The key outcomes of the workshop can be found here.
During the conduct of the enquiry, new information will be available on this information centre.
Why is the enquiry being held?
The enquiry is being held to investigate the feasibility for a national targeted lung cancer screening program and to develop a report to the Minister for Health on the prospects, process and delivery of targeted lung cancer screening in Australia.
Early diagnosis of lung cancer is critical to improve outcomes, with more than 50% of lung cancer cases being diagnosed at an advanced stage. Lung cancer is:
- a common cancer in Australia, accounting for 8.9% of all new cancer cases diagnosed in 2019,
- the leading cause of cancer death in Australia, accounting for 18.9% of all cancer deaths
- a cancer of low survival, with a 5 year survival rate of 17%, compared with a 5 year survival rate of 69% for all cancers (Cancer Australia 2019).
International and national research continues into the feasibility of both population and targeted risk screening for other cancers, including for lung cancer.
What will the enquiry consider?
Cancer Australia has developed a phased approach to the Lung Cancer Screening enquiry.
The prospects phase will appraise national and international evidence on the benefit and harms of lung cancer screening, target population groups, and cost effectiveness.
The process phase will consider the design of a national targeted lung cancer screening program for the Australian setting.
The delivery phase will consider how to effectively implement such a screening program in Australia.
The enquiry will consider issues including:
- The context of lung cancer in Australia
- Benefits and harms of lung cancer screening
- Cost effectiveness of targeted lung cancer screening in Australia
- Who the target population might be
- The clinical screening and assessment pathway and workforce capacity
- Use of technology
- Recruitment and access to screening in hard-to-reach target groups
- Communication needs for the community, screening participants and health professionals.
The enquiry will also consider the critical role of research in improving health care treatment and outcomes and ways in which to incorporate new and emerging research into an adaptive program.
When will the enquiry report be delivered?
The Lung Cancer Screening enquiry report will be submitted to the Minister for Health in October 2020.
How will Cancer Australia engage with our stakeholders?
Cancer Australia is committed to engaging and consulting with all stakeholders throughout the conduct of the enquiry.
Key stakeholders include the Australian community, people affected by cancer, health professionals, clinical colleges, researchers and research institutes, cancer organisations, peak bodies and government (all jurisdictions and representative bodies, such as the National Cancer Expert Reference Group).
Engaging with targeted population groups, including Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, rural and remote and culturally and linguistically diverse communities will be a key focus of the enquiry.
Have your say
Public consultation will be open through the Department of Health Consultation Hub website from December 2019 to February 2020.
Cancer Australia has established a dedicated Lung Cancer Screening enquiry email inbox if you want to contact us directly firstname.lastname@example.org.