Researchers at the University of Nottingham, in collaboration with colleagues at the University of Oxford, have developed a new tool called “CanPredict”.
It can identify people who are most at risk of developing lung cancer over the next 10 years.
The tool is able to use data from the health records of over 19 million adults from across the U.K. to identify those at high risk and put them forward for screening tests earlier, potentially saving lives.
Lung cancer is the second most common cancer in incidence and the leading cause of cancer deaths worldwide.
Catching lung cancer early has been shown to improve survival rates, making targeted lung cancer screening a priority.
The new tool, which outperforms other approaches, could help prioritize those at high risk for lung cancer screening, enabling diagnoses to be made at an earlier stage.
To develop the tool, the researchers used the QResearch Database to identify 13 million people aged 25 to 84 years old, among whom 73,380 had a diagnosis of lung cancer.
They then looked back through their health records to identify common factors which might be used to statistically predict their risk of developing the cancer.
Factors such as smoking, age, ethnicity, body mass index, medical conditions and social deprivation (and others) were considered as part of the analysis.
Once the tool was developed, the researchers used a separate set of anonymized GP health records to see which people their new tool predicted were at the greatest risk of developing lung cancer.
They then compared this to those who did go on to develop lung cancer.
The new CanPredict tool correctly identified more people who went on to develop lung cancer and was more sensitive than current recommended methods of predicting risk, across 5-, 6-, and 10-year forecasts.
The researchers plan to make the tool publicly available for use, subject to further funding for implementation in day-to-day practice and to ensure Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) medical device compliance.
How to prevent lung cancer
There are several ways to reduce the risk of developing lung cancer:
Quit smoking: Smoking is the leading cause of lung cancer. Quitting smoking is the most important step to reduce your risk of developing lung cancer.
If you are a smoker, speak to your healthcare provider about quitting smoking programs and medications.
Avoid exposure to secondhand smoke: Secondhand smoke can increase the risk of lung cancer. Try to avoid places where people smoke, and encourage others to quit smoking.
Avoid exposure to radon: Radon is a radioactive gas that is found in some homes and buildings.
Exposure to radon can increase the risk of lung cancer. Test your home for radon, and if high levels are detected, take steps to reduce exposure.
Avoid exposure to other harmful chemicals: Exposure to certain chemicals, such as asbestos, can increase the risk of lung cancer.
If you work in an industry that exposes you to harmful chemicals, take steps to protect yourself, such as wearing protective equipment.
Eat a healthy diet: Eating a diet rich in fruits and vegetables may help reduce the risk of lung cancer. A healthy diet can also help you maintain a healthy weight, which is important for reducing the risk of cancer.
Exercise regularly: Regular physical activity can help you maintain a healthy weight and reduce the risk of cancer.
Get screened: If you are at high risk of developing lung cancer, talk to your healthcare provider about screening. Screening can detect lung cancer early when it is more treatable.
If you care about lung health, please read studies about why Viagra may be useful in treating lung diseases, and scientists find herbal supplements to treat lung cancer.
For more information about health, please see recent studies about gum disease linked to impaired lung function, and results showing COVID-19 is not just a respiratory illness, it can cause strokes too.
The study was conducted by Weiqi Liao et al and published in The Lancet Respiratory Medicine.
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