AI’s Role in Lung Cancer Detection: the UK Experience
By Arianna Ferrini  |  Feb 17, 2022
AI’s Role in Lung Cancer Detection: the UK Experience
Image courtesy of and under license from Shutterstock.com
Dr Arianna Ferrini discusses the role of artificial intelligence in lung cancer detection and the United Kingdom’s AI strategy in cancer prevention.

LONDON - Around 48,500 people are diagnosed with lung cancer in the United Kingdom each year, making it the third most common cancer in the country. More than 70 percent of lung cancer cases in the UK are caused by smoking, while other causes or risk factors include exposure to radon gas, exposure to certain chemicals in the workplace, a family history of lung cancer, and cancer treatment for other types of cancer. Lung cancer’s morbidity and mortality demand improvement and modification of lung cancer screening techniques. 


Early Diagnosis

Early diagnosis is essential for every type of cancer, and even more so for an aggressive one like lung cancer. Lung cancer is the deadliest cancer in the world: more than 70 percent of those who have it die within five years of diagnosis. But when cancers are found early, the prognosis is much better. If tumors are small and confined to the lung, almost two-thirds of people survive for at least five years.

From Autumn 2019, the National Health Service (NHS) England offered a new service called Targeted Lung Health Check (TLHC) program for individuals who are ex-smokers over 55 but younger than 75 years old. This is a large-scale lung cancer screening initiative that starts with a phone or video appointment with a health professional to determine the risk of lung cancer, and if this is deemed high, a low-dose computed tomography (CT) scan, often in a mobile truck, is offered. This program has been set up because there is evidence that screening people based on their risk of lung cancer can save lives. This is only available in some parts of the country, and we know from epidemiological data t

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