400,000 Dutch people receive an invitation for lung cancer research


NOS News

In the coming months, about 400,000 Dutch people will receive an invitation to participate in a trial population study into the early detection of lung cancer, the Rotterdam Erasmus MC reports. In it, (ex) smokers between the ages of 60 and 79 in three regions are asked to participate in the survey. Lung cancer is most common in this age group.

A 2020 study found that early detection of lung cancer with a CT scan in smokers and ex-smokers can reduce mortality by 25 percent or more. In the Netherlands, this amounts to 1500 to 2500 fewer deaths from lung cancer per year.

The pilot population screening that will now be launched in the Netherlands, Germany, Spain, Italy and France should answer some important questions, such as how to reach and inform people most at risk.

Another question is: how often should a CT scan be done? “In eight out of ten participants, no abnormalities are expected to be found on the first CT scan. Do they still need a new CT scan a year later, or is it safe to wait two years? also investigated,” said lead researcher Carlijn van der Aalst.

Chance of survival small after metastases

Doctors have been asking for a population screening for lung cancer for years, because the disease can be cured if detected at an early stage. If the disease is only diagnosed when there are already metastases, the chance of survival is small. Lung cancer is difficult to treat once the patient has symptoms.

“Only three out of a hundred people are still alive after five years if the tumor is discovered at a late stage. At an early stage, that is still about sixty out of a hundred people,” says Van der Aalst. In time, the researchers hope that the minister will decide on a real population screening that should contribute to the early detection of a lung tumor.

The people who now receive an invitation for the study live around the screening locations. The AVL Center for Early Diagnosis, of the Antoni van Leeuwenhoek Hospital and the Netherlands Cancer Institute, in Amsterdam is the first center to be launched in the Netherlands. The Bilthoven and Friesland regions are also participating. All residents from the three regions in the relevant age category will receive a letter.

In the Netherlands, approximately 14,000 people are diagnosed with lung cancer every year. At least 10,000 patients die from the disease every year.


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