Smokers and past smokers from Clifton are being offered checks to assess the health of their lungs as part of a programme that has just started in Nottingham.
Targeted Lung Health Checks are being offered to people aged 55 – 74 in Clifton, with the programme moving to other areas of Nottingham later in the year.
People are invited for a telephone appointment which may be followed up by a face-to-face appointment and CT scan depending on the information they provide. The scanning unit is based at Morrisons carpark in Clifton.
60% of people from Clifton who have received a letter have taken up their offer of an appointment so far. 60% of these people have been assessed as needing a face-to-face appointment and CT scan.
Dr Manik Arora, Clifton GP and Clinical Director for the TLHC programme, said: “Lung cancer rarely has symptoms at the earlier stages. As a result, sadly three quarters of patients are diagnosed late. If you are invited for a lung health check, it’s really important to go even if you feel fit and healthy. The check can spot any issues at an earlier stage, making treatment much easier.
“22% of people in the Clifton and Meadows area smoke, which is the third highest rate in Nottingham and Nottinghamshire and significantly higher than the national average. The early uptake figures for our programme in Clifton are really encouraging, but we will continue to contact those people who haven’t yet responded to encourage them to take up their free check.”
Emma O’Dowd, Respiratory Consultant at Nottingham University Hospital NHS Trust said: “This is a real step forwards in the early diagnosis of lung cancer. Lung cancer is the UK’s biggest cancer killer and early detection offers the best chance of treatment with a cure. Other areas which have been running TLHC programmes for some time have already seen people diagnosed with early lung cancer who have been able to have curative treatment. This is very different to when people present with symptoms. I would encourage anyone who gets an invite to take it up. Most scans will not show lung cancer but in those that do, diagnosing earlier means that we have a much better chance of getting rid of the cancer completely, often with a simple keyhole operation.”
Lilian Greenwood, MP for Nottingham South, said: “I warmly welcome the launching of the Targeted Lung Health Checks programme in our city – starting in Clifton – by the Nottingham and Nottinghamshire ICB.
“I encourage as many of my constituents who are eligible to access the programme – past and current smokers aged 55 to 74 – to do so if they receive a telephone call from ICB healthcare professionals.
“Smoking remains the leading cause of preventable illness and death in England, with over half a million hospital admissions and 74,600 deaths attributed to smoking in 2019/2020. Lung cancer is often detected late, as there are rarely symptoms at the earlier stages. That is why Targeted Lung Health Checks could save the lives of a number of people in Nottingham by spotting lung cancer earlier, when it is more treatable.”
Sue Whitehead, from Clifton, received her invitation for a telephone appointment in January. She said: “As soon as the nurse comes on the phone, they put you straight at ease and to be honest make you wonder why you have been worrying at all. You are asked a series of simple questions about your smoking habits past or present, then some general health questions relating mainly to your lungs. Depending on how you answer, the computer works out your qualifying points to see if you go onto the next stage which is a face-to-face appointment with the nurse.
“Why not get it done if you’ve been put forward? It’s all free and it’s being done to save our lives, to catch these things earlier. We get one go at this life surely it’s up to all of us to get the most out of it.”
As part of the checks, people are also given support from our stop smoking service Stub it! if they would like help to quit. Support is tailored to each person and their smoking patterns.