Kidney scans to be introduced to Leeds lung screening trial

A new study, led by researchers at the University of Cambridge, will investigate whether an extra scan for kidney cancer can be effectively introduced to mobile lung screening programmes.

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. Just 6 in 10 patients with kidney cancer live for five years after diagnosis.

Since November 2018, the Leeds Lung Health Check has checked 6,300 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, taking just 10 seconds, 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 and 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.”

Read the full press release from Yorkshire Cancer Research.