BACKGROUND: Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer-related deaths in Switzerland. Despite this, there is no lung cancer screening program in the country. In the United States, low-dose computed tomography (LDCT) lung cancer screening is partially established and endorsed by guidelines. Moreover, evidence is growing that screening reduces lung cancer-related mortality and this was recently shown in a large European randomized controlled trial. Implementation of a lung cancer screening program, however, is challenging and depends on many country-specific factors. The goal of this article is to outline a potential Swiss lung cancer screening program.
FRAMEWORK: An exhaustive literature review on international screening models as well as interviews and site visits with international experts were initiated. Furthermore, workshops and interviews with national experts and stakeholders were conducted to share experiences and to establish the basis for a national Swiss lung cancer screening program.
SCREENING APPROACH: General practitioners, pulmonologists and the media should be part of the recruitment process. Decentralisation of the screening might lead to a higher adherence rate. To reduce stigmatisation, the screening should be integrated in a “lung health check”. Standardisation and a common quality level are mandatory. The PLCOm2012 risk calculation model with a threshold of 1.5% risk for developing cancer in the next six years should be used in addition to established inclusion criteria. Biennial screening is preferred. LUNG RADS and NELSON+ are applied as classification models for lung nodules.
CONCLUSION: Based on data from recent studies, literature research, a health technology assessment, the information gained from this project and a pilot study the Swiss Interest Group for lung cancer screening (CH-LSIG) recommends the timely introduction of a systematic lung cancer screening program in Switzerland. The final decision is for the Swiss Cancer Screening Committee to make.