People taking part in a pioneering lung screening trial in Leeds will now also be checked for kidney cancer.
A new study funded by Yorkshire Cancer Research and led by Professor Grant Stewart of the University of Cambridge, will investigate whether an extra scan for kidney cancer can be effectively introduced to mobile lung screening programmes. The development of Professor Stewart’s kidney cancer screening study was supported by a research grant from Kidney Cancer UK in 2018.
Every year, around 130 people in Leeds are diagnosed with kidney cancer. It is the seventh most common cancer in Yorkshire. Around 6 in 10 people with kidney cancer do not experience any symptoms, and they are often only diagnosed during tests for another condition or reason.
This means over a third of patients are diagnosed at a late stage when the cancer is more difficult to treat.
Since November 2018, the Leeds Lung Health Check has checked over 6,600 people for early signs of lung disease. The trial focuses specifically on people aged 55-80 who smoke or used to smoke, as they are at the highest risk of developing lung cancer.
People in this group also have a high risk of developing kidney cancer. From April 2021, those taking part in the trial will have the opportunity to benefit from an additional scan that can find kidney cancer at a very early stage when no symptoms are present.
Grant Stewart, Professor of Surgical Oncology at the University of Cambridge, study lead, said:
“Kidney cancer is currently a silent and lethal condition. It is often not diagnosed until the disease has passed the point at which we can easily cure it. Given that kidney cancer is largely curable if identified at an early stage when no symptoms are present, there has been international interest for many years amongst the scientific community in developing a potential screening programme for this ‘silent’ cancer.
“To establish if screening is possible, we will piggyback on the Leeds Lung Health Check and offer an extra CT scan for kidney cancer to those taking part in this important clinical trial. The extra scan will take just 10 seconds.
“This will be the first study in the world to address uncertainties and test the clinical rationale and logistics required to see if we can develop a full kidney cancer screening clinical trial within a lung health check programme. By the end of the feasibility study, we will understand whether we can and should undertake a full kidney cancer screening clinical trial as we’ll know whether people are likely to take up this extra scan.”
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Professor Grant Stewart became a Trustee of Kidney Cancer UK in March 2020