The Daffodil Centre has welcomed a recommendation to government from the independent Medical Services Advisory Committee (MSAC) supporting the implementation of a targeted national lung cancer screening program.
Director of the Daffodil Centre, Professor Karen Canfell, said MSAC’s advice to government included recommending the creation of new Medicare items for screening high-risk individuals with low-dose computer tomography, which has been shown to save lives in major international clinical trials.
“This is an exciting development towards a national screening program for lung cancer, the leading cause of cancer death in Australia by a significant margin,” said Professor Canfell, who also chairs Cancer Council’s national Cancer Screening and Immunisation Committee.
“The review was conducted independently and concluded with high certainty that the evidence showed the proposed program would reduce lung cancer mortality. This is a major development in cancer control in Australia.”
Professor Canfell said that Daffodil Centre and other Cancer Council researchers had been collecting evidence on the feasibility of targeted lung cancer screening in Australia for many years.
She said Daffodil Centre researchers and co-opted scientific advisory committee members had been closely involved in developing and promoting the evidence, including an updated risk factor analysis as part of the government enquiry, economic analysis and contributing to the Australian chapter of the International Lung Cancer Screening Trial.
“Evidence, technology and its application have all advanced, thanks to cancer research, which is reflected in MSAC’s revised recommendations,” Professor Canfell said. “The priority now should be for all governments and nongovernment stakeholders to work together urgently on developing a program that meets the requirement for implementation in Australia’s health system.”
Professor Canfell congratulated the public officials including the team at Cancer Australia, the government’s national cancer control agency, who had worked tirelessly over the past three years since an enquiry into the feasibility of lung cancer screening commenced in early 2020.