Lung cancer screening pilot welcome but Government must commit to introducing it as a permanent programme

Senator Annie Hoey image
19 April 2023

Labour Senator and Oireachtas Health Committee member Annie Hoey said a national lung cancer screening programme is a vital tool in our armoury to detect cancer and give people the best chance of fighting it.

Welcoming the pilot which is due to get underway this year, Senator Hoey said Labour has called for such a programme following international evidence that screening can give people a better chance at recovering from the disease.

Senator Hoey said:

“The introduction of a pilot programme of lung cancer screening in Ireland, targeted at more deprived communities in particular, is very welcome. This screening programme has the potential to diagnose lung cancer at an earlier stage, ensure treatment is provided, and save lives.

“Government must commit to coupling this pilot with an information campaign on the signs and symptoms of lung cancer to encourage those potentially at risk to visit their doctor and request a consultation.

“We have already seen the positive impact these programmes have in both raising awareness of cancers and detecting cancer at an earlier, treatable stage. The pilot is a first step in the right direction, but Government must commit to introducing a public screening programme. No one should be excluded from accessing better health outcomes, particularly not because they can’t afford it.

“Recent research from the National Cancer Research Ireland (NCRI) reports that incidence of lung cancers is higher in more deprived areas. Reaching out to those communities, and those most at risk like smokers, is key. A national screening service would identify those most at risk in society of lung cancer and invite those who would benefit from screening to partake.

“Lung cancer is one of the leading causes of cancer deaths in Ireland, yet it is largely preventable if it is caught early. We know that lung cancer is typically diagnosed at a late stage in Ireland, with two out of every three lung cancers being diagnosed at Stage III or IV.

“International evidence is showing that lung cancer screening programmes catches this horrid disease at an earlier stage, where there are better treatment options and a meaningful chance at recovery.

“This pilot in Ireland will hopefully corroborate this international evidence and will incentivise government to invest in a national lung cancer screening programme, resulting in more lives saved from this dreadful disease.”

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