May, 2024
May 2024
Sebastian Schmidt: Lung cancer screening in Japan
May 7, 2024, 23:34

Sebastian Schmidt: Lung cancer screening in Japan

Sebastian Schmidt, Head of Strategy and Medical Affairs Computed Tomography at Siemens Healthineers, shared a post on LinkedIn:

“Lung cancer screening in Japan

I just came back from a trip to Japan, where I had the honor to speak at the Japanese Radiology Conference and with the healthcare commission of the Parliament about lung cancer screening.

Interestingly, Japan is the only country I know having a screening program with chest-x-ray. Most Japanese adults traditionally get an annual chest-XR, independent of risk.

This provides a better distribution of the stage at diagnosis: In Japan, roughly 50% of lung cancers diagnosed are in stage I/II, compared to 20-25% in Western countries. However, of course CT-based-screening programs can provide 75-80%. As we know, the sensitivity of X-ray for smaller nodules is limited.

It would be relatively easy to integrate CT-screening for high-risk persons into the existing programs: Answering a questionaire on cancer risks is already part of the annual screening. So the only change would be to send people with increased risk to CT and cover the examination – this could be done by changing the current guidance of the MHLW (Ministry of Health).

My overall impression is that we can be carefully optimistic: The problem of the lung cancer burden in Japan is well-understood by decision makers, and there is willingness to improve. The many positive examples of successful CT-based screening programs in other countries clearly help.

There is a way to go, but the first steps are made and it seems realtistic that we will see CT-scans being integrated in screening in a few years.”

Sebastian Schmidt

Source: Sebastian Schmidt/LinkedIn