Following years of controversy around the value of screening for lung cancer. A recent study, NELSON, conducted across Europe has gone some way towards reducing false positives and improving earlier diagnosis. These results have been encouraging enough for the NHS in England to offer former smokers the chance to attend a lung health check, following a pilot project in Manchester. In that pilot, 2541 people were screened, 61 were diagnosed with lung cancer and importantly 80% identified with cancers at an early stage.

The Economist points to continued controversy as cost efficiencies demand that screening is focused on smokers and ex-smokers, highlighting that one in five sufferers have never smoked.

Personally, I think this is an important step forward for tackling cancer that is often diagnosed far too late. I agree with ‘the sceptics’ that more should be done to stop people starting to smoke in the first place, but I don’t think it is an either/or and that people should be further punished for their past mistakes.