Sir Harry Burns announced the trial will test the cost-effectiveness of EarlyCDT lung, a simple blood test used to detect the disease in its earliest stages. Current screening methods only detect advanced lung cancer.
The trial will involve people who have smoked the equivalent of 20 cigarettes a day for 20 years.
Half the participants will receive the EarlyCDT test, while half will not be screened. At the end of the trial, the clinical outcomes and the overall cost of care for both groups will be compared.
Sir Harry Burns said: “The earlier a cancer is diagnosed the greater the chance it can be treated successfully, and currently 85 percent of patients with lung cancer remain undiagnosed until the disease has reached an advanced stage. . . By testing those at greatest risk of developing lung cancer, and diagnosing it at its earliest possible stage, we stand a better chance of being able to treat the cancer successfully.”
According to government statistics one in five deaths in Scotland are smoking-related. Illness associated with smoking costs NHS Scotland over 400 million annually.
EarlyCDT-Lung testing has been used in the United States for two years. According to Oncimmune, the pharamecutical firm that developed the test, it is “performing commercially as expected” there.
Burns hopes that use of new testing procedures will help NHS Scotland increase early detection of Lung cancer by 25%.