Respiratory Screening

Screening works on the premise that prevention is better than cure. With screening, tests are carried out on an individual with a specific profile, before any symptoms arise.

As is true for most disease, the earlier abnormalities or weakness in our bodies can be highlighted, the better chance we have of changing lifestyle habits to prevent disease such as cancer arising. Or, if disease is diagnosed in the early stages of development, there is generally a much greater chance of successful treatment.

For screening to be useful, it needs to tick these three points:

  • It must be reliable at detecting the illness
  • It must be quick and simple to be able to screen high volumes of people
  • It must do more good than harm to those taking part

There currently isn’t a national screening programme for lung cancer in the UK. However, private clinics such as Liberate Healthcare offer screening tests that can help to spot the early signs of lung cancer.

About Lung cancer

Lung cancer is one of the most common cancers, with approximately 44,500 people diagnosed in the UK each year.

Lung cancer mainly affects older people with the most common diagnosis age is 70-74. Smoking is the main cause of lung cancer in 85% of cases.

The stage of diagnosis is important to the success of treatment and therefore the survival rate.

According to Cancer Research UK, survival of more than one year following diagnosis is as high as 80%, for both men and women, when diagnosed at Stage 1. If lung cancer is diagnosed at Stage 4 however, the one-year survival rate falls to under 20%.

Read more about lung cancer

Who should be screened?

The people with the highest risk for lung cancer are:

  • people who smoke, or used to smoke for many years
  • people who have chronic obstructive pulmonary disease
  • people over 70 where one or both of the above apply

Other people with relatively high risk for lung cancer, include:

people who have smoked cannabis for many years
people that have lived in households with high levels of cigarette smoke
people that have worked in occupations where have been exposed to chemicals such as:
asbestos, arsenic, cadmium, coal fumes, nickel, silica and beryllium
people that have been exposed heavily to diesel fumes, either through work or living in highly polluted areas
people that have been exposed to high levels of nitrogen oxide from heavy traffic fumes
people living in areas known to contain radon in the rocks and soils

If you fall into a higher risk bracket, respiratory screening tests could spot any early signs of lung cancer.

A specialist consultation gives your health the attention it deserves.

Lung cancer screening test

The recommended test for lung cancer screening is a low-dose computed tomography – also known as a low-dose CT scan (LDCT).

This test uses an X-ray machine to scan the inside of the body, taking images so as to determine any abnormalities. The LDCT, as the name portrays, does use low doses of radiation.

To this extent there are a number of risks involved, which is why screening is only suggested for people with a very high risk.

Risks involve

  • A false-positive result. The screening tests are not sophisticated enough to be wholly reliable. False-positive results can lead to follow-up tests, or even surgery that isn’t needed. This may also increase risk further.
  • Over-diagnosis is where cancers are detected that may never have caused a serious problem. This can also lead to unnecessary treatment.
    Repeated exposure to radiation from LDCT tests can cause cancer in healthy people

Nevertheless, there can be benefits from regular screening, so discuss your options with a specialist doctor.

Often surgery is combined with chemotherapy to ensure remaining cancer cells are destroyed. A specialist consultant will discuss a treatment plan with you, ensuring you are fully informed of all options, tests and any treatment decisions, including side effects.

Seek the right help to feel your best

To feel our best is ultimately everyone’s goal in life.

Often it is only when a condition arises, leaving us feeling unwell, that it becomes clear as to the value of our health.

Expert help is available to help you to better understand, manage and improve symptoms related to your respiratory health.

A specialist consultation gives your health the attention it deserves.