An MS has called for a national targeted lung cancer screening programme in Wales.
Llŷr Gruffydd, who represents North Wales in the Senedd, has said the move would “save lives” as well as “ease pressure” on the NHS.
The Plaid Cymru politician spoke out on the issue following meeting representatives from Cancer Research UK where it was discussed.
He wants the Welsh Government to look at how it could rollout of a national targeted lung cancer screening programme in Wales.
Lung cancer claims 1,800 lives each year, which is more than any other cancer in Wales. This also makes it the leading cause of cancer death in the country.
According to experts, late diagnosis is a key driver of this statistic. In Wales, only 28% of lung cancer patients with a known stage are diagnosed early.
Measures such as targeted lung cancer screening can make an impact on bringing down the death toll.
This type of screening is for people aged 55-74 with a high risk of lung cancer, such as those with a history of smoking. Then if it is shown that the participant is at high-risk of lung cancer, they will be offered a low dose CT scan of their lungs.
In 2022 the UK National Screening Committee (UKNSC) recommended that "the 4 (UK) nations move towards implementation of targeted lung cancer screening with integrated smoking cessation service provision."
Llŷr Gruffydd MS: “It’s clear that much more needs to be done to reduce deaths from lung cancer in Wales. Far too many people are dying because they aren’t getting a diagnosis early enough.
“We all know that budgets are being squeezed and resources are severely limited at the moment because of the stark economic situation.
“Because of that, it makes more sense than ever to target resources in the areas where they will make the most impact. If we target those at highest risk and then ensure that they are diagnosed early then treatment is more likely to be successful.
“Implementing a national targeted lung cancer screening programme in Wales would save lives and ease pressure on the health service too. The Welsh Government needs to take a serious look at how it could roll out such a programme.
“This kind of screening has proven to be effective elsewhere and if implemented it can be effective in Wales too.”