A glorious breakthrough from that Wonder of the World that is the National Health Service:
Thousands of lives could be saved if people at risk of developing Britain’s deadliest cancer were screened to diagnose it before it becomes incurable, a major NHS study has found.
Giving smokers and ex-smokers a CT scan uncovers cancerous lung tumours when they are at an early enough stage so they can still be removed, rather than continuing to grow unnoticed, it shows.
Experts are demanding the government moves to bring in routine CT scanning of smokers and ex-smokers in order to cut the huge death toll from lung cancer. About 48,000 people a year are diagnosed with the disease in the UK and 35,100 die from it – 96 a day.
How excellent that is!
And such a glory with which we can celebrate the different way we do things.
Screening means testing for a disease when there are no symptoms or history of that disease. Doctors recommend a screening test to find a disease early, when treatment may work better.
The only recommended screening test for lung cancer is low-dose computed tomography (also called a low-dose CT scan, or LDCT). During an LDCT scan, you lie on a table and an X-ray machine uses a low dose (amount) of radiation to make detailed images of your lungs. The scan only takes a few minutes and is not painful.
Who Should Be Screened?
In 2013, the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) recommendedexternal icon yearly lung cancer screening with LDCT for people who—
Have a history of heavy smoking, and
Smoke now or have quit within the past 15 years, and
Are between 55 and 80 years old.
The Americans have been doing this for getting on for a decade now. So, how many have died because of the slowness of the NHS to keep up with modern technology?
More importantly perhaps, how do we get the NHS to keep up with modern technology? The answer being competition.
We do know that competitive markets work at driving forward new technology. That’s one of the things they just are good at. If there’s something out there that works and it provides a competitive advantage – keeping your patients alive doing that in medicine – then it will be more rapidly adopted than in a non-competitive system.
No, this does not mean that we have to adopt all of the American system – employment based health care insurance is a silly idea – but we should adopt some of it. We can stick with a monopoly of financing if we desire but we do need to move to competitive supply. As Germany, France etc all do of course.
That is, the solution to the NHS is to stop having the NHS. But then we knew that even if the idiots are currently moving in the opposite direction.