The UK Lung Cancer Screening Trial (UKLS) was the first lung cancer screen trial to take place in the UK and hopes to benefit people who are at risk of developing lung cancer. Lung cancer affects the lives of about 40,000 people a year in the UK, by screening for the disease UKLS hopes that earlier diagnosis may result in more successful treatment for those patients.
It is important to point out that anybody can develop lung cancer at anytime, however there are a number of factors that increase the likelihood of contracting the disease for example exposure to tobacco smoke or asbestos.
The UKLS trial was carried out in conjunction with The Liverpool Heart & Chest Hospital (NHS Liverpool, Knowsley & Sefton) and Papworth Hospital (NHS Cambridgeshire, Bedfordshire & Peterborough) to identify potentially at risk patients within their catchment areas. In total UKLS wrote to over 250,000 men and women between the ages of 50-75 to ask them to participate in completing a questionnaire. The results of the completed questionnaires were used to risk model the potential likelihood of an individual contracting lung cancer and individuals deemed to be high risk were asked to complete a second questionnaire to confirm their potential risk and eligibility to attend a screening clinic.
During the screening clinics various data and information were collected including a low dose CT scan of the lungs taken which was reviewed by a radiologist. Any signs of lung cancer initiated a prompt referral to the local hospital and to specialists who carried out further investigations and any necessary treatments. Those with smaller abnormalities (nodules) that had the potential to be early lung cancers were also followed up with repeat low dose CT scans.
UKLS was funded by The National Institute for Health Research, Health Technology Assessment programme (Reference number HTA 09/61/01) and the results will be published in full in the Health Technology Assessment journal series [Field, JK et al. (2016) The UK Lung Cancer Screening Trial: a pilot randomised controlled trial of low-dose computed tomography screening for the early detection of lung cancer. Health Technology Assessment, 20 (40). 1 – 14610.3310/hta20400].