About the National Lung Cancer Screening Program

The new National Lung Cancer Screening Program (NLCSP) will maximise early detection of lung cancer.

The National Lung Cancer Screening Program (NLCSP) aims to achieve better health outcomes for Australians by detecting lung cancer early and reducing deaths from lung cancer. Early detection can lead to more effective treatment options and improved outcomes for patients.

The NLCSP is a screening program using low-dose computed tomography (LDCT) scans to look for lung cancer in high-risk people without any symptoms. It is targeted to eligible people aged between 50 to 70 years old with no signs or symptoms of lung cancer. 

On 2 May 2023, the Minister for Health and Aged Care announced that the Australian Government would set up the NLCSP.

We are getting ready for the program to launch in July 2025.

 Find out more about establishing the program.

About lung cancer

Lung cancer is the fifth most common cancer and the leading cause of cancer death in Australia. It is a disease where abnormal cells in the lungs grow and multiply out of control.

The main symptoms of lung cancer include:

  • coughing up blood
  • new or changed cough 
  • chest and/or shoulder pain 
  • shortness of breath 
  • hoarseness 
  • chest infection that doesn’t go away 
  • unexplained weight loss or tiredness.

 Learn more about lung cancer and its main symptoms. 

If you think you are experiencing symptoms of lung cancer, don’t wait. See your doctor or Aboriginal health worker right away. 

Symptoms of lung cancer should be investigated according to the Cancer Australia Investigating symptoms of lung cancer.

Why screening is important

Lung cancer screening saves lives.

Screening helps to detect cancer at an earlier stage. Earlier diagnosis can improve health outcomes because it is associated with higher survival rates and improved quality of life.

Early diagnosis of lung cancer will mean reducing the number of patients requiring treatment for advanced stage lung cancer, when the survival rate is much lower. 

By detecting lung cancer early, the NLCSP will help to prevent over 500 deaths each year from lung cancer. 

Learn more about how the screening process will work.

Benefits of early diagnosis

Treatments for patients diagnosed in the early stages are potentially more effective and less physically demanding. 

Early-stage lung cancer can often be treated with surgery to remove the tumour. If the cancer has spread outside the lung, which it often does in stage 3 to 4 cancer, more intensive treatment options may need to be considered. Treatment for advanced lung cancer (Stage 4) may only focus on slowing the growth of the cancer and improving quality of life.

Researchers estimate that the proportion of cases identified at early-stage cancer (stage 1) will increase from 16% without a screening program to 60% with a screening program. They also estimate that the proportion of advanced stage (stage 4) cancer will decrease from 53% without a screening program to 11% with a screening program. 

We expect that participation in the NLCSP will increase year by year as it becomes more publicly known and promoted by healthcare providers. 

The screening pathway

The screening and assessment pathway defines the structure of the program. We based the pathway on stakeholder consultation and evidence reviewed through Cancer Australia’s lung cancer screening enquiry report and feasibility study. The Medical Services Advisory Committee (MSAC) supports the pathway.

According to the screening and assessment pathway: 

  • participants with no findings will stay in the program and be screened again in 2 years 
  • those with low to moderate risk of cancer will stay in the program, have another screening at 12 months or 3 months and may be referred to a specialist
  • those with high risk of cancer or suspected lung cancer will be referred to a specialist linked to a multidisciplinary team (MDT).

Sometimes the screening test can show something that may need follow-up testing or treatment. These participants will go back to usual care and their healthcare provider will follow the relevant clinical guidelines.

Who we work with

We are working with clinicians, including the radiology sector, jurisdictions, peak bodies and consumer organisations on the design and implementation of the program. We will continue to form partnerships as we move through the implementation process. Current partners include:

Role of the National Cancer Screening Register

The National Cancer Screening Register (NCSR) will provide program information and reminders to participants. It will not hold the scan images. Relevant healthcare providers may access participant information and remind them if they need to take action in relation to lung cancer screening.

Read more about using the NCSR under the NLCSP.


The National Cancer Screening Register Amendment Bill 2024 expands NCSR's purpose to also support the NLCSP when it launches in July 2025. The Bill was considered and supported by both houses of parliament in March 2024 and May 2024.

Following the amendment of the National Cancer Screening Register Act 2016, the National Cancer Screening Rules 2017 will be amended to include a mandatory reporting requirement for radiologists to report lung cancer screening information to the NCSR.


To assist with the design and implementation of the NLCSP, we have established 2 advisory committees to inform the program’s commencement in July 2025.

The NLCSP Advisory Group includes representation from every jurisdiction and focuses on how the NLCSP will be delivered within their health systems.

The NLCSP Expert Advisory Committee is a multidisciplinary advisory group that provides expert advice to promote best practice lung cancer screening.

A key focus of the NLCSP and the advisory committees is to consider and advise on achieving equitable outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and other priority populations who are disproportionately impacted by lung cancer.

Quality assurance, monitoring and evaluation

We are developing quality assurance, monitoring and evaluation frameworks for the program. See Establishing the NLCSP for more details.


National Lung Cancer Screening Program contact

Contact us for information about the National Lung Cancer Screening Program, which will launch in July 2025.
Date last updated:

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