Data Show Disadvantaged Groups Have Significant Need for Lung Cancer Screening

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Individuals from a lower socioeconomic group showed more benefits from low-dose CT screening relating to lung cancer survival.

Investigators from the University of Liverpool and Queen Mary University have conducted a study assessing the impact of lung cancer screening compared across various socioeconomic groups. The results highlight the need for lung cancer screening among all individuals, and specifically a significant need among individuals with lower socioeconomic status.1

Doctor watching a xray of lung cancer on digital tablet. Radiology concept - Image credit: steph photographies | stock.adobe.com

Image credit: steph photographies | stock.adobe.com

“The impact of low-dose CT [LDCT] lung cancer screening has been previously demonstrated in a number of international clinical trials, including the [UK Lung Screening (UKLS)] study here in the UK. However, this is the first time that the long-term impact of risk-stratified lung cancer screening has been compared across different socioeconomic groups, demonstrating that those disadvantaged groups at the greatest risk of developing the disease benefit as much as those in less deprived areas,” said John Field, PhD, from the University of Liverpool, in a news release.2

The study authors noted that lung cancer impacts around 40,000 individuals in the UK annually. Despite this increased number of affected individuals, a previous study from UKLS showed an unequivocal need for lung cancer screenings among identified high-risk groups.2

“The UKLS mortality data and recent meta-analysis provides the impetus to now put in place a long-term lung cancer screening or lung health program incorporating LDCT screening in the UK and also encourage nations in Europe to start their own program. Lung cancer early detection and surgical intervention saves lives,” said Field in a news release.2

Additionally, in a previous study conducted in 2022 by Mount Sinai School of Medicine, the data showed that individuals with lung cancer screened with LD computed tomography were found to have an improved 20-year survival rate by up to 80%.3 Despite the positive results, research published in the Journal of the American Medical Association found that the prevalence of lung cancer screenings was at a higher rate in 2021 than in 2019, but remained low compared with other population-level cancer screening programs.4

In the current study, study authors noted that they analyzed long-term outcomes among individuals included in the study across the socioeconomic spectrum. The researchers evaluated the socioeconomic status at primary recruitment, selection for screening, lung cancer detection, and long-tern mortality benefit from lung cancer and other conditions.1

The results showed that individuals from a lower socioeconomic group had more benefits from LDCT screening relating to lung cancer survival compared to individuals in higher socioeconomic groups.1

“These results indicate the potential for lung cancer screening to address some serious inequalities in health. As the targeted program is rolled out nationally, we need to make an effort to deliver the service to those deprived populations who need it most,” said Stephen Duffy, PhD, professor of cancer screening, Queen Mary University of London, in a news release.1

The study authors noted that the results also demonstrated that lung cancer screening could provide benefits for the detection of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and cardiovascular diseases as well.1

“This is excellent data which demonstrates that lung cancer screening of high-risk populations not only delivers benefits in lung cancer outcomes for the most deprived in our society, but it could also have wider beneficial effects on other smoking-related diseases, such as COPD and cardiovascular disease," said Chris Warburton, MD, respiratory consultant at Liverpool University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust and clinical lead for the Targeted Lung Health Check Program for the NHS Cheshire and Merseyside Cancer Alliance, in a news release. "The Cancer Alliance would encourage anyone offered a Lung Health Check to attend this important appointment which might just help to prolong their life.”1

REFERENCES
1. Lung cancer study offers further evidence on importance of screening. EurekAlert!. News release. May 21, 2024. Accessed May 29, 2024. https://www.eurekalert.org/news-releases/1045427.
2. UK lung cancer trial shows screening at-risk groups lowers mortality rates. University of Liverpool. September 12, 2021. Accessed May 29, 2024. https://news.liverpool.ac.uk/2021/09/12/uk-lung-cancer-trial-shows-screening-at-risk-groups-lowers-mortality-rates/.
3. Lung Cancer Screening Significantly Increases 20-Year Survival Rate. Pharmacy Times. News release. November 28, 2022. Accessed May 29, 2024. https://www.pharmacytimes.com/view/lung-cancer-screening-significantly-increases-20-year-survival-rate.
4. Lung Cancer Screening Rates Increase, but Remain Low Overall. Pharmacy Times. News release. July 6, 2023. Accessed May 29, 2024. https://www.pharmacytimes.com/view/lung-cancer-screening-rates-increase-but-remain-low-overall.
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