– Sir Harry Burns, Chief Medical Officer for Scotland
This pilot project is part of our Detect Cancer Early programme, which aims to increase the early detection of cancer by 25 per cent. By testing those at greatest risk of developing lung cancer, and diagnosing it at its earliest possible stage, we stand a better chance of being able to treat the cancer successfully. This means patients can be treated when their general health is better and when less aggressive treatment maybe required than if the cancer had spread.
The test, called EarlyCDT-Lung, will include 10,000 high-risk smokers (defined as having smoked the equivalent of 20 cigarettes per day for over 20 years).
It detects signals produced by the immune system when lung cancer is present.
This can mean up to five years earlier than tumour detection.
An independent firm of health economists in the US, where the test has been available for two years, say that it should be highly cost effective and reduce lung cancer mortality.
Survival rates in the UK have remained very poor for decades, with only 7% of sufferers surviving for five years.
A trial of a simple blood test that detects cancer at its earliest stage of development is set to be launched in Scotland.
The country has one of the highest lung cancer rates in the world and twice that of the UK population combined.