Cancer Australia has developed a consultation hub to invite Australians to have their say on a national lung cancer screening program, for people who are at a higher risk of the disease.
The leading cause of cancer death in Australia, lung cancer is 2.1 times more likely to be diagnosed in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders, who are 1.8 times more likely to die from the cancer than their non-Indigenous counterparts.
Indigenous males make up the largest group of individuals to be diagnosed with the disease.
There are 12,000 new cases of lung cancer and over 9,000 deaths from the disease each year, with the disease often discovered in the advanced stage, reducing the treatments available and resulting in its high mortality rate.
While smoking is known to be a major cause of the disease, the rate of early detection is still low. The Cancer Australia Hub has been developed to gain valuable insight into the benefits and frequency of screening, including how often at-risk individuals should be tested.
Chief Executive Officer of Cancer Australia, Dorothy Keefe, said the key to improving lung cancer treatment and outcomes is early diagnosis.
“There are currently three national screening programs for cancer in Australia and they are for bowel, breast and cervical cancers, all of which have better survival [rates] than lung cancer,” Professor Keefe said.
Professor Keefe said the Consultation Hub is gaining valuable information from the public and will help develop future treatments.
“We know from international trials that screening for lung cancer saves lives. Through the new Lung Cancer Screening enquiry Consultation Hub, input from the public will help Cancer Australia consider the design of a possible program for the Australian setting,” Professor Keefe said.
Cancer Australia is imploring all Australians with an interest in lung cancer, particularly those with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander backgrounds, to contribute to the enquiry.
“The enquiry will look at the feasibility, design, cost-effectiveness and implementation of a national lung cancer screening program, including the benefits and harms of screening and which people should be screened, how often, and with which test,” Professor Keefe said.
“This is why we are urging all Australians from every sector with an interest in lung cancer to have their say and contribute to the Lung Cancer Screening enquiry.”
Various stakeholder consultation workshops will form part of the enquiry during the period of the Consultation Hub’s operation, specifically workshops with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health professionals.
The Hub is open until 17 February, 2020, and includes a series of questions and feedback from health professionals, the public, people affected by cancer and various research institutes. All submissions by affected parties are encouraged.
To find out more about the Hub, visit, https://canceraustralia.gov.au/about-us/lung-cancer-screening-enquiry. Alternatively, if you would like to contribute to the hub click here.
By Caris Duncan