East Londoners needed for biggest ever UK lung cancer screening study

The study is seeking smokers and non smokers. Picture: Martin Rickett

The study is seeking smokers and non smokers. Picture: Martin Rickett - Credit: PA Wire/PA Images

North east Londoners are being recruited for the biggest lung screening project in the UK.

University College London Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust (UCLH) is hoping to recruit 50,000 men and women aged between 50 and 77 in the new year.

Half of the participants will be people at high risk of lung and other cancers due to a significant smoking history (Group A), and the other half will be people who are not at high risk (Group B).

All participants will provide a blood sample, which will be analysed to evaluate whether lung or other cancers can be detected early through genomic signals in the blood.

Participants in Group A will be identified by inviting residents of north and east London who may meet the eligibility criteria based on their smoking history for a lung health check.

In addition to providing a blood sample, participants will be screened for lung cancer using a low dose CT scan (imaging technology proven to detect lung cancer).

The study will also offer support to smokers who would like to stop.

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People in Group B will be invited via a letter from their GP and will donate a blood sample and fill out a questionnaire.

The area of north east London was chosen as the region for the study to help improve early cancer diagnosis, outcomes and care for patients living there.

Prof Geoff Bellingan, medical director for cancer and surgery at UCLH, said: “It provides us with a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to change how lung cancer is diagnosed – both by paving the way for a national screening programme here in the UK and supporting global efforts to develop a novel blood test for early detection of multiple cancers, including lung cancer.”

Prof Sam Janes, professor of respiratory medicine at UCL/UCLH and chief investigator of the SUMMIT Study, added: “Lung cancer is the biggest cancer killer in the UK because most people only experience symptoms when the cancer is at an advanced stage when it is very difficult to treat.

“This large-scale study gives us a unique opportunity to detect lung cancer much earlier when treatment is more likely to be successful amongst those proven to be most at risk – people who smoke or used to smoke.”

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