Lung Foundation Australia joined key stakeholders for Cancer Australia’s first planning meeting to explore the feasibility of a national targeted screening program for lung cancer.
The meeting brought together consumers, health providers and policy and organisational representatives from government and peak bodies to discuss the prospects, process and delivery of a potential program.
“The initial enquiry meeting was very positive in acknowledging the overwhelming amount of international and national evidence in favour of a targeted screening program with the vast majority of those in the room recognising screening as a very high priority,” Lung Foundation Australia CEO Mark Brooke said.
The meeting was the first stage of a consultative process to investigate the potential for a first-of-its-kind screening program in Australia, announced by the Minister for Health at Lung Foundation Australia’s World Lung Cancer Day event in August 2019.
Discussions at the meeting reinforced the growing evidence that diagnosing lung cancer in the early stages leads to better care pathways and increased life expectancy.
“We know lung cancer has the lowest five-year survival rate of any of the major cancers and the lack of a national screening program directly contributes to this terrible statistic.
“Lung Foundation Australia commends Cancer Australia on taking the important first steps in what will be a challenging process. We are confident in the team Cancer Australia has assembled to progress a model which, ultimately, will save tens of thousands of lives over the next decade.
“We remain hopeful that the report, due in October 2020, will achieve in part the recommendations made in the Making Lung Cancer a Fair Fight: A Blueprint for Reform report.”
Lung cancer remains the leading cause of cancer death in Australia – more than breast, prostate and ovarian cancers combined. It is estimated that over the next 10 years almost 160,000 new cases of lung cancer will be diagnosed. As the burden of disease climbs, costs skyrocket with an estimated economic burden of $6.6 billion by 2028.
“We thank the Government for recognising the importance of investing in preventative measures to address the growing burden in Australia. Together we can work to reduce disease burden and improve outcomes for those impacted by lung cancer.
“We look forward to working collaboratively with Cancer Australia, key opinion leaders, health providers and expert advisors throughout this process.”
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