New blood test could inform lung cancer screening
New research from the International Agency for Research on Cancer shows that a new blood test could help identify groups who should be offered targeted lung cancer screening.
Professor Sanchia Aranda, CEO, Cancer Council Australia, said that the new finding was a promising development in the reducing the impact of Australia’s biggest cancer killer.
“Lung cancers are often detected too late – which is one of the key reasons why lung cancer survival in Australia remains so low, at less than 20 percent. In order to improve survival, we not only need more research to find new ways to treat lung cancer, but also detect it earlier.
“We know that current and former heavy smokers are at much higher risk of developing lung cancer. Prior research has shown that offering low-dose CT scans to heavy smokers can help detect cancers earlier, improving lung cancer survival rates. However, CT scans also come with downsides – including false positive results, which can lead to unnecessary tests, procedures and anxiety.
“Researchers in this study were able to use blood biomarkers to successfully identify 63% of former and current smokers who went on to develop lung cancer. This offers promising possibilities for targeted lung cancer screening using CT scans in the future.
“The next step will be to trial using the test to inform screening and measuring the real-life impact on earlier diagnosis and survival.
“In the meantime, this research is another reminder that tobacco is the biggest preventable cause of cancer. The single most important thing that Australians can do to reduce their lung cancer risk is not smoke.”
(Source: Cancer Council Australia)