Scientists said the findings of a study – looking at the effect of CT screening on smokers at high-risk of developing lung cancer – disputed the belief that a negative screening result offers a “licence to smoke”.
They suggested that engaging with lung screening can give smokers an opportunity to access smoking cessation support – at a time when they are likely to be more receptive to offers of help.
Dr Kate Brain, from Cardiff University, said: “Our trial shows that CT lung cancer screening offers a teachable moment for smoking cessation among high-risk groups in the UK.
“We now need evidence about the best ways of integrating lung cancer screening with stop-smoking support, so that services are designed to deliver the maximum health benefits for current and future generations.”
The trial, led by researchers at Cardiff University working with the University of Liverpool, King’s College London and Queen Mary University of London, involved 4,055 participants aged 50 to 75.
The group was split into those who underwent low-dose CT screening for early detection of lung cancer and a control group who did not undergo screening.
Of the smokers who took part in the screening, 10 per cent had successfully quit after two weeks, and 15 per cent had quit after two years – both higher than rates in the control group.
The UK Lung Cancer Screening pilot trial is the first to assess the feasibility, cost-effectiveness and behavioural impact of lung cancer screening, using a single low-dose CT screen on a high-risk population in the UK.
Lung cancer is one of the most common and serious types of cancer and has the highest mortality of all cancers in the UK.
Around 44,500 people are diagnosed with the condition every year in the UK.
The study, Impact of low-dose CT screening on smoking cessation among high-risk participants in the UK Lung Cancer Screening Trial, is published in scientific journal Thorax.
Join our commenting forum
Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies