Writing in the journal Lancet Respiratory Medicine, the researchers developed and tested the tool using the anonymised health records of over 19 million adults from across the UK.
Lung cancer is the second most common cancer in incidence and the leading cause of cancer deaths worldwide. However, lung cancer screening – ‘catching it early’ – has been shown to improve survival rates. Because of this, in September 2022 the UK National Screening Committee recommended using targeted lung cancer screening. However, the committee did not recommend which tools would best be used for targeting screening at people most at risk.
Professor Fergus Gleeson, co-author of the study and Professor of Radiology in the Department of Oncology at the University of Oxford, said: 'Around 48,500 people are diagnosed with lung cancer each year in the UK. In its early stages, there are usually no obvious signs or symptoms, and it can go undetected for some time. Using a technique called low-dose computerised tomography (CT) for lung cancer screening we can catch this disease and treat it earlier, and that improves people’s outcomes.