Taking a Deep Breath: National Lung Cancer Screening Program Coming by July 2025!
We have some fantastic news to share… the National Lung Cancer Screening Program will roll out nationwide by July 2025! This exciting initiative aims to detect lung cancer at an early stage, boost survival rates, and promote better health outcomes for all.
What’s the National Lung Cancer Screening Program all about?
The National Lung Cancer Screening Program is an extensive effort to offer lung cancer screening to individuals at high risk of developing lung cancer. The details are being designed with input from the communities most affected, which is great news because it should ensure equitable access.
For those eligible for lung cancer screening, they’ll be referred to have a low dose CT scan. That’s the one you lie down on a table that slides in and out of a machine. It takes multiple pictures or scans of your lungs. These pictures can help detect possible lung cancers at an early stage before there are signs or symptoms.
Like other cancer screening programs, if abnormalities are detected then additional follow up will be required. With early detection, this program can make a world of difference, leading to more effective treatment and higher chances of recovery.
“…get ready to take a deep, excited breath because this program is all about taking action for a healthier life.”
Why is this program extra awesome for LGBTQ+ communities?
Our LGBTQ+ communities are diverse and fabulous, but we also face unique health challenges. While smoking rates have thankfully decreased overall, smoking rates are still higher for LGBTQ+ communities than the general population.
This can be attributed to the ongoing adversity, stigma, and discrimination our communities face. We can feel a lack of support from family and peers, and we can experience depression, low self-esteem, and unique stressful life events, such as coming out.
It’s no surprise that many of us will find connection in smoking or turn to cigarettes to relieve stress and anxiety. Most people who smoke want to quit and have attempted to quit, but quitting can be hard. Making changes that support your decision to quit smoking can be essential. Like join a gay-friendly sports team, spend time with supportive people, find a new hobby, or treat yourself to something that relaxes you. Calling NSW Quitline (13 78 48) for support can also increase your success in quitting.
Because of our communities’ higher rates of smoking the National Lung Cancer Screening Program is an essential step toward improving the early detection of lung cancer.
Note: To learn more about our communities higher smoking rates check out our research page for the SWASH Report: lesbian, bisexual and queer women’s health survey and our Evidence Brief: People living with HIV & smoking.
Who’s eligible for this screening?
The eligibility criteria for the Lung Cancer Screening Program are yet to be finalised. Generally speaking, eligibility will primarily be based on age, smoking history, and other risk factors.
International trials have now demonstrated evidence to support participation in bi-annual screening for lung cancer in high-risk populations such as smokers and ex-smokers aged 50-74 years with a lifetime smoking history.
First Nations communities have been highlighted as a priority population. Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer death in Australia, and First Nations communities carry a much higher burden of both smoking and cancer, such that cancer is now the leading cause of disease-related death for First Nations people.
The screening program will be co-designed with the First Nations health sector. The program will maximise the early detection of lung cancer, with the aim of achieving equity in cancer outcomes for vulnerable groups.
The program is expected to prevent over 500 lung cancer deaths per year.
The perks of early detection:
Let’s talk benefits, shall we? Early detection of lung cancer can be a game-changer. Detecting it at the earliest stage possible significantly improves the effectiveness of treatments and boosts survival rates.
As we eagerly await the National Lung Cancer Screening Program’s launch by July 2025, mark your calendars, share the news with your friends, and get ready to take a deep, excited breath because this program is all about taking action for a healthier life.