Past and current smokers in North Lincolnshire and North East Lincolnshire will be invited to a NHS lung health check service in a drive to improve earlier diagnosis of lung cancer and save more lives.
NHS England and NHS Improvement has confirmed that North Lincolnshire and North East Lincolnshire will be two of 43 places across the country to run the NHS Targeted Lung Health Check programme.
Expected to start in 2022, the initiative means approximately 45,000 past and current smokers, aged 55 to less than 75, in North Lincolnshire and North East Lincolnshire will be invited to a lung health check by their GP. This will identify an estimated 440 cases of lung cancer earlier than otherwise would have been.
Those invited will have an initial phone assessment with a specially trained health care professional. If the assessment finds the person to be at high risk, they will be offered a low dose CT scan of the lungs for further investigation.
The scanner will be housed in a mobile unit and taken to convenient locations, such as supermarket or sport venue car parks, across North and North East Lincolnshire. Stop smoking advice will also be offered to support current smokers wanting to quit.
Lung cancer can often be caught too late as there are rarely symptoms at the earlier stages. The programme is designed to check those most at risk of developing lung cancer in order to spot signs earlier, at the stage when it’s much more treatable, ultimately saving more lives.
In January 2020, Hull became one of 10 initial lung health check pilot sites and has since welcomed over 5,000 participants to the service, with more than 2,500 of those receiving a CT scan. The service has helped to identify cancer at an early stage and provided opportunities for earlier treatment, which is helping to save people’s lives.
Dr Satpal Shekhawat, Medical Director at NHS North Lincolnshire CCG, said:
“Unfortunately, due to there being few to no symptoms at an early stage, lung cancer is regularly diagnosed late and currently causes more deaths than any other cancer within North and North East Lincolnshire, but if caught early, it’s much more treatable and the survival rate is much higher.
“Being able to offer lung health checks to those at higher risk of lung cancer, will provide an opportunity for more and earlier interventions, including curative surgery. The service will also help to improve our populations health by offering free stop smoking advice and support to current smokers.”
Dr Stuart Baugh, Clinical Director at Humber, Coast and Vale Cancer Alliance, said:
“Humber, Coast and Vale Cancer Alliance is pleased to have secured funding for the further roll out of Targeted Lung Health Checks across our region.
“The extension of lung health checks will play a key part in helping to deliver the NHS Long Term Plan ambition of diagnosing three out of four people with cancer at an early stage by 2028.
“We have already seen the positive impacts this service has for patients, since the first pilot site was launched in Hull in January 2020, and we look forward to working with our partners to extend the reach of this service from Spring 2022.”
For more information on the Targeted Lung Health Check programme please visit www.lunghealthcheck.org.uk