Implications of incidental findings from lung screening for primary care: data from a UK pilot

Following Cancer Australia’s 2020 enquiry into Lung Cancer screening, the Australian Government announced it will invest $6.9 million to commence the early scoping of a potential national lung cancer screening program from 1 July 2021. In the UK however, targeted lung cancer screening (LCS) is already underway via a number of pilot programmes. The most widely used model involves a “lung health check”  and low-dose CT scan for those at high risk of cancer, with incidental findings being referred to primary care. This sub-study of the targeted LCS pilot aimed to evaluate the impact of identification of incidental findings from LHCs and targeted lung screening on primary care and screening participants. The paper reports on the proportion of participants referred to primary care, the indications for referral, the number of GP attendances and consequent changes to patient management, and provides an estimated cost-burden analysis for primary care. Overall, a small proportion (~10%) of participants were referred to primary care with incidental findings, with ~60% of those who consented to GP follow-up appointments actually attending. Costs incurred by primary care and changes to patient management were minimal. Overall, the LHCs resulted in a small increase to primary care workload provided a strict referral protocol is adhered to. Read full text    
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