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.
National Lung Cancer Screening Program – May 2023
On 2 May 2023, the Hon Mark Butler, Minister for Health and Aged Care announced a National Lung Cancer Screening Program which will lead to the early detection of lung cancer in Australians and save lives. The first new national cancer screening program in nearly 20 years will commence screening by July 2025. The program will target high-risk individuals to detect lung cancer in its early stages to increase the likelihood of successful treatment and improve lung cancer outcomes.
Since July 2021, Cancer Australia has been working in partnership with the Department of Health and Aged Care to determine the feasibility of a lung cancer screening program in Australia. This work, alongside the MSAC advice published on 13 October 2022, informed the Government’s decision to introduce a Lung Cancer Screening Program in Australia.
The feasibility work included six workstreams to:
- Identify optimal approaches to co-design with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.
- Engage with States, Territories and PHNs.
- Determine workforce requirements including training and education and impact modelling.
- Assess screening infrastructure capacity and capability.
- Determine program tools, resources, information and communication materials.
- Develop data governance and quality assurance frameworks.
The final reports across the workstreams are available at the links below:
- ‘Exploring the feasibility of a potential Lung Cancer Screening Program – Summary Report’
- Key Principles and Best Practice to Co-Design with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples Applicable to the Cancer Control Context in Australia, University of Queensland, 2022 (Word 2MB / PDF 1.4MB)
- The Program Tools, Guidance, Information and Communication, workforce considerations, and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander considerations for a LCSP, The University of Melbourne, 2022 (Word 2MB / PDF 3.5MB)
- Capacity and Capability Assessment of CT Screening Infrastructure to support the LCSP, Deakin University, 2022 (Word 3.1MB/ PDF 2MB)
- Workforce Modelling for the LCSP, Deakin University, 2022 (Word 785KB/ PDF 1.2MB)
- LCSP Data Governance Framework, Nous Group, 2022 (Word 2.6MB/ PDF 1.7MB)
- LCSP Quality Assurance Framework, Nous Group, 2022 (Word 2.5MB/ PDF 1.4MB)
- LCSP Data Governance and Quality Assurance Frameworks Considerations, Nous Group, 2022 (Word 3.6MB/ PDF 2.7MB)
Cancer Australia will continue to work with the Department of Health and Aged Care to undertake further work with the sector to design and implement the national program for the Government.
Medical Services Advisory Committee advice on Lung Cancer Screening – October 2022
On 13 October 2022, the Medical Services Advisory Committee (MSAC) published its advice to the Minister for Health and Aged Care on the introduction of a national lung cancer screening program.
The Public Summary Documents for the 1 April and 29 July meetings contain detailed summaries of MSAC’s discussion and are available on the MSAC website: MSAC - 1699 – National Lung Cancer Screening Program.
Lung cancer screening update – August 2022
Cancer Australia continues the early scoping work for a potential national lung cancer screening program (NLCSP).
As part of this, Cancer Australia has completed the following:
- Defined the roles and responsibilities for each health workforce group involved in a potential NLCSP and identified key education and training requirements.
- Determined potential workforce demands, including the direct (i.e. screening phase) and downstream (i.e. management phase) impacts of a potential NLCSP on relevant workforce groups.
- Engaged with States, Territories and the Department of Health and Aged Care to develop an initial shared understanding of the roles and responsibilities, downstream impacts, gaps and opportunities, and needs in supporting the delivery of a potential NLCSP.
- Developed an approach to co-design with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people through the evidence and consensus-based development of six key principals and 27 best practice approaches to co-design with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.
- Identified the essential tools, clinical guidance, information, reporting requirements and resources required at each stage of the screening and assessment pathway for health professionals, participants and community to support delivery of a potential NLCSP.
Cancer Australia continues to progress:
- identification of the capability and capacity of existing screening infrastructure in Australia to inform the implementation of a potential NLCSP, and
- identification of key elements, data sources, performance standard requirements, and KPIs of a potential NLCSP through the development of both a Quality Assurance and Data Governance Framework.
Recently, key stakeholders have been engaged as part of the development of a Quality Assurance and Data Governance Framework. Key feedback from these consultations include:
- Data collection is the most significant challenge to success. To be effective, data should be collected using standardised collection tools and collection must be mandated.
- A potential NLCSP would require different tools and technology to other cancer screening programs.
- KPI feasibility is key, and it is important to understand what data can be collected from the first day to demonstrate effectiveness of the program.
- Monitoring and evaluation of the screening program is key to demonstrate outcomes and to inform continuous improvements and the program should have an embedded review period.
- Any potential NLCSP would require a clear data governance structure that outlines roles and responsibilities, particularly relating to decision making.
Information on the progress of this initiative will be made available on this web page.
Lung cancer screening update – March 2022
Cancer Australia continues the early scoping work for a potential national lung cancer screening program (NLCSP).
As part of this, Cancer Australia has progressed the following:
- facilitated targeted engagement and consultation with stakeholders to seek input on key design elements of a potential screening program,
- commenced exploration of the principles and best practice approaches to co-design with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people;
- commenced work on the workforce, screening infrastructure, data governance and quality assurance, Indigenous data sovereignty and information and communications requirements relevant to a potential NLCSP;
- convened Cancer Australia’s Lung Cancer Advisory Group as the governing structure to provide strategic advice and input to the early scoping work.
As part of the agency’s ongoing stakeholder engagement and consultation, Cancer Australia facilitated two Lung Cancer Screening workshops in February 2022. The Workshops brought together consumers, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander representatives, peak national clinical bodies, cancer and health organisations, lung cancer researchers, oncology professionals and Cancer Australia governance group representatives.
Key themes from the workshops included:
- clarification of the screening and assessment pathway, including participant entry and recruitment, nodule management, specialist referral, and transition between stages of the pathway;
- building workforce capacity and capability;
- accessibility and simplicity of information and resources, including consideration of digital enablers, for participants and health professionals;
- managing stigma, fear and anxiety;
- ensuring informed consent and ethical considerations addressed;
- considerations for priority populations including Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people;
- engaging with primary care, and specialists linked to multidisciplinary teams (MDTs);
- ensuring robust data collection, recording, and reporting.
For more information
Please find the presentation from the Lung Cancer Screening Workshops held in February 2022 below:
- Lung Cancer Screening update
Presenter: Associate Professor Vivienne Milch
Lung cancer screening update - October 2021
Cancer Australia has commenced early scoping work of a potential lung cancer screening program.
As part of this, Cancer Australia has commenced the following:
- mapping of key stakeholders to engage with throughout the early design of a potential lung cancer screening program,
- discussions around the approach to co-design with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander stakeholders;
- early scoping work around workforce, screening infrastructure, data governance and quality assurance, and information and communications requirements relevant to a potential National Lung Cancer Screening Program (NLCSP).
This work will be undertaken over a 12-month period.
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.
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.