February 2020 - The European Society of Radiology (ESR) is pleased to announce the publication of an important joint statement with the European Respiratory Society (ERS) on lung cancer screening (LCS) in Europe. Endorsed by both societies, the paper contains a contemporary, non-systematic review of the literature and common practice in lung cancer screening in Europe and also refers to the important NELSON study results.
Intended to be an update of a past ESR-ERS working group white paper on lung cancer screening, published in 2015, the statement was published simultaneously in European Radiology and the European Respiratory Journal. Focussing on new findings and current discussions surrounding screening programmes, it reviews the evidence from LCS trials, offering a description of the current practice of LCS, as well as aspects that have not received adequate attention until now. Both the ESR and ERS anticipate that the publication of the paper will stimulate further discussion and action on the implementation of lung cancer screening programmes in European countries.
The ESR and ERS agree that Europe’s health systems need to adapt to allow citizens to benefit from organised pathways, rather than unsupervised initiatives, to allow early diagnosis of lung cancer and reduce the mortality rate. The authors argue that now is the time to set up and conduct demonstration programmes focusing, among other points, on methodology, standardisation, tobacco cessation, education on healthy lifestyle, cost-effectiveness and a central registry.
The paper was written by members of the ESR-ERS Working Group who have been collaborating on the statement since early 2018. Chaired by Prof. Hans-Ulrich Kauczor, of the University Hospital Heidelberg, Germany, and the German Centre of Lung Research, the group consists of 22 representatives from the ESR and ERS including radiologists, pulmonologists, thoracic oncologists, thoracic surgeons, psychologists, epidemiologist, molecular biologists, health care managers and patients. In addition, members of the Patient Advisory Committee of the European Lung Foundation (ELF), also offered their voices to provide the relevant and unique patient perspective on screening programmes in Europe.
On publication of the joint statement, Prof. Kauczor stated, ‘All stakeholders involved are convinced that patients and citizens will benefit largely from early diagnosis of lung cancer and that screening will reduce significantly the mortality of the number 1 killer worldwide - cancer. We emphasise the importance of advocacy by major European and national medical societies and patient organisations to broadly raise public awareness’.
The publication of the paper is another crucial milestone, following a joint event organised by ESR, ERS and Lung Cancer Europe (LuCE) at the European Parliament in November 2019, on the occasion of which a factsheet on lung cancer was launched, calling for an update of the 2003 European Council Recommendation on cancer screening, and for Member States to exchange best practices and gradually implement lung cancer screening programmes while upholding the highest standards of care and patient safety. More information about the event can be found here.