Chinese should start screening for lung cancer earlier than Western counterparts

"Chinese have a key difference with lung cancer patients in the West, so a guideline in line with Chinese people's own health conditions is important."

Chinese people should start to receive screening for lung cancer at the age of 45, 10 years earlier than those in the West, according to a guideline for lung cancer diagnosis and treatment released in Shanghai on Tuesday.

Led by Shanghai Chest Hospital, some 50 domestic medical specialists participated in the discussion and production of the guideline, the first in line with Chinese people’s conditions. 

Another key finding was that smoking is not the primary risk factor for lung cancer in China.

“Lung cancer is the top cancer killer for Chinese, but most domestic doctors just follow guidance from the West,” said Dr Han Baohui from Shanghai Chest Hospital, the leading specialist of the new guideline. “Chinese have a key difference with lung cancer patients in the West, so a guideline in line with Chinese people’s own health conditions is important to regulate clinical practice and improve the detection and treatment effects of lung cancer patients here.”

He said smoking is the top risk factor for lung cancer in the West, where people usually start screening after the age of 55.

“But there are many female non-smokers suffering lung cancer in China," the doctor added. "No matter whether male or female, the incidence of lung cancer starts to rise among people around the age of 45 in China."

Concerning Chinese people's conditions, the guideline claimed that highly at-risk people receiving screenings for lung cancer in China are those between 45 and 70 years of age, those who are smokers, people who come into contact with poisonous and harmful items, and those who have a family history of cancer.

“Early and regular screening is extremely important and effective for lung cancer detection and treatment,” Han said.

There were 780,000 people detected with lung cancer in China last year.

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