Smokers and ex-smokers in Mansfield and Ashfield are being invited to a NHS lung health check in a drive to improve earlier diagnosis of lung cancer and save more lives.
With one of the highest mortality rates for lung cancer in England, Mansfield & Ashfield is one of 43 places across the country to run the Targeted Lung Health Check (TLHC) programme which is soon to be rolled out across Nottingham City.
The initiative means more than 30,000 past and current smokers aged 55 to 74 in Mansfield & Ashfield will be invited to a lung health check by their GP. This will help to identify an estimated 370 cases of lung cancer earlier than otherwise would have been.
Dr Thilan Bartholomeuz, TLHC Clinical Director said: “We’re delighted to be in a position to drive this forward in Mansfield and enable thousands of people to benefit from Lung Health Checks. The Lung Heath Check finds out how well a participant’s lungs are working and hopes to identify problems early. Your lungs work hard for you every minute of your life. As you get older it’s worth getting them checked out.”
To date, the community initiative, part of the NHS Targeted Lung Health Check Programme, has seen more than three quarters (77 per cent) of cancers caught at either stage one or two, giving patients a much better chance of beating the illness. This compares to less than a third of cancers caught at either stage one or two in 2018.
People diagnosed with lung cancer at the earliest stage are nearly 20 times more likely to survive for five years than those whose cancer is caught late.
The lung health check takes place in two stages. The first is an initial phone assessment with a specially trained health care professional. If the assessment finds the person to be at high risk, they are offered a low dose CT scan of the lungs for further investigation.
The scanner is housed in a mobile unit and is being taken to accessible areas in Mansfield & Ashfield, including the Mansfield Civic Centre.
Lung cancer can often be caught too late as there are rarely symptoms at the earlier stages. This 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 and ultimately saving more lives.
The Targeted Lung Health Check programme estimates it will diagnose around 9,000 cancers earlier than would otherwise have been within the 43 places running the checks. This offers the opportunity for earlier interventions, including curative surgery, which will save people’s lives. Stop smoking advice will also be offered to support current smokers.