National Lung Cancer Screening Program

In Australia, lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer death in both men and women. The majority of cases are diagnosed at a late stage where treatment options are limited. We're advocating for a national screening program to improve early diagnosis and save lives.

Lung cancer screening enquiry

The ability to save lives by screening for lung cancer using low-dose computed tomography chest scans (LDCT) is no longer in doubt, following the publication and presentation of data from screening programs in the Unites States and the United Kingdom. However, Australia does not have a national lung cancer screening service.

As a result of engagement by Your Voice Advocates and Lung Foundation Australia, the Minister for Health tasked Cancer Australia, in October 2019, with assessing the feasibility of conducting a lung cancer screening service in Australia. Information on the Cancer Australia enquiry can be found here.

Lung Foundation Australia made a submission in support the a national screening program which you can read here.

Show your support for lung cancer screening

Lung Foundation Australia recommend that the Australian Government adopt Cancer Australia’s recommendation to implement a national targeted lung cancer screening program within the term of the next government. This includes a specific recommendation for funding seven mobile screening units to ensure equitable access to early detection in regional and remote Australians.

A targeted lung cancer screening program will not only position Australia as a world leader in lung cancer, but the benefits are far reaching. As the leading lung health organisation in Australia, we are committed to improving outcomes for the many Australians who experience lung disease and lung cancer, and firmly believe there is a significant need to implement an evidence-based, cost-effective national targeted screening program.

How can you show your support?

The Medical Services Advisory Committee will be reviewing the feasibility of implementing the National Lung Cancer Screening Program (1699) and are eager to hear from Australians on whether there is support for this screening program being funded or not. Make your voice heard by emailing commentsMSAC@health.gov.au by Friday 11 February 2022.

We suggest you make the subject of your email “1699 – Support for Lung Cancer Screening”, and in the body of your email you can share your story, or why you think lung cancer screening is needed in Australia, or feel free to use some of the statistics outlined below.

Find more information on MSAC, here.

Show your support

Information to support your submission

Lung cancer is often detected too late when treatment options are limited

Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer death in Australia

Each year over 13,000 Australians are diagnosed with lung canceri

Lung cancer has the lowest five-year survivorship out of the top cancersii

  • Lung cancer – 20%
  • Bowel cancer – 70%
  • Cervical cancer – 74%
  • Breast cancer – 92%
  • Melanoma skin cancer – 92%
  • Prostate cancer – 95%

In 2015-2016, lung cancer cost the health system $448.4millioniii

The key to improving survival and quality of life of Australians affected by lung cancer is to diagnose lung cancer early.

Key points from Cancer Australia’s report

The program outlined would be cost effective with an incremental cost-effectiveness ratio of $83,545 per QALY gained.

Based on the national and international evidence, a screening program using biennial low dose computed tomography in asymptomatic high-risk Australians could detect cancers in their early stages when treatment is most likely to be successful.

A targeted lung cancer screening program would save lives, reduce lung cancer mortality in Australia by 20% in the screened population, and improve the survival, quality of life and productivity of Australians affected by lung cancer.

It is estimated that in the first 10 years of a lung cancer screening program in Australia, over 70% of all screen detected lung cancers would be diagnosed at an early stage, over 12,000 deaths would be prevented and up to 50,000 quality adjusted life years would be gained.

Lung cancer has a greater proportional impact on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, people in regional and rural areas, and those of lower socioeconomic status. Through research, analysis and consultation with key stakeholders, Cancer Australia has defined the elements and framework for delivery of a cost-effective and equitable national lung cancer screening program in Australia.v

i AIHW 2021, Cancer data in Australia. Cat. No: CAN 122. Available at: https://www.aihw.gov.au/reports/cancer/cancer-data-in-australia/contents/about

ii Ibid

iii AIHW 2021, Health System Expenditure on cancer and other neoplasms in Australia, 2015-16. Cat. No: CAN 142. Available at: https://www.aihw.gov.au/reports/cancer/health-system-expenditure-cancer-other-neoplasms/data

iv Cancer Australia 2020. Report on the Lung Cancer Screening enquiry. https://www.canceraustralia.gov.au/publications-and-resources/cancer-australia-publications/report-lung-cancer-screening-enquiry

v Ibid