Lung cancer screening
Lung cancer is one of the most common and serious types of cancer. Around 47,000 people are diagnosed with the condition every year in the UK.
There are usually no signs or symptoms in the early stages of lung cancer.
Here at The London General Practice we have reviewed National guidelines throughout the world and discussed screening with leading experts in their fields.
Unfortunately, regular chest x-rays as a screening tool for people at a higher risk of lung cancer has not been shown to help.
Most people live longer and are not recommended for lung cancer screening.
Lung cancer is one of the most common causes of cancer and is also the leading cause of death.
However, if lung cancer is found at any early stage when it is small and before it has spread, it can be treated successfully.
Lung cancer screening is recommended for people who smoke or used to smoke and those who do not have signs or symptoms.
If you have lung cancer but have no symptoms, then with appropriate screening there is a very good chance of detecting the disease early.
Unfortunately, symptoms of lung cancer do not appear until the disease is already at an advanced stage and even if symptoms are present, they can be mistaken for other problems, such as infection or long term effects of smoking. This in itself delays diagnosis.
Here at The London General Practice our goal is to detect lung cancer early when it is treatable.
We therefore follow the American Cancer Society guidelines and this suggests low-dose CT scans for all aged 50-80 and who currently smoke or have quit in the past 15 years and have smoked at least 20-pack year smoking history, which means 20 a day cigarette smoking for 20 years.
We also use the PLCO algorithm which helps to determine whether a CT scan of the chest is needed if you are under 50 years old or have smoked sporadically.
The CT scan highlights nodules in the chest which may be extremely small and require follow-up CT scans to assess growth.
Any suspicious nodule or any nodule which has changed will be immediately referred to a respiratory physician or cardiothoracic surgeon for evaluation.
If a nodule is found to be cancerous then if it is treatable or removed early you can be reassured of a cure.
A management plan will be discussed with you and appropriate advice offered.
At the London General Practice we screen for cancers individually or as part of one of our comprehensive health screens. Our genetic testing cancer panel can also help you understand if you have an increased genetic risk of developing any one of 57 hereditary cancer conditions.