The Guardian reported that thousands of lives could be saved every year in the UK if the National Health Service introduced routine lung cancer screenings.

Prof Charles Swanton, chief clinician at Cancer Research UK and one of the country’s leading cancer scientists, said: “The data are extraordinary. If we had a drug half as good as that, we would have adopted it by now.”

Swanton, whose work is focused on investigating mutations in cells in late-stage tumours that become very hard to treat, urged the introduction of CT screening for people at risk because of smoking or family history, because lung cancer is very curable by surgery if caught early, but often fatal if detected late.