Over 30,000 past and current smokers have been invited to a lung health check in Mansfield and Ashfield, which is helping to identify lung cancer at an earlier stage. Since April 2021, past and current smokers in Mansfield and Ashfield have been invited to an 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 complete the Targeted Lung Health Check programme which is now being rolled out across Nottingham City.
The initiative has seen more than 16,000 past and current smokers aged 55 to 74 coming forward for a lung health check-up, which has resulted in a 20 percent increase in lung cancer diagnosis in the area – 60 percent of lung cancers identified were at an early stage.
Simon Castle, Deputy Director of Cancer, diagnostics, and end of life care at NHS Nottingham and Nottinghamshire, said: “The earlier lung cancer is identified means there will, most likely, be less invasive treatment needed, better recovery and better outcomes. That’s why it is so important that people who are invited take up this offer. The Targeted Lung Health Check programme started in Mansfield and Ashfield and has since been rolled out across Nottingham city; and we hope to expand it across the whole of Nottinghamshire in the coming years. This life-saving programme is improving early diagnosis and helping patients to receive timely treatment which is undoubtedly helping to save people’s lives.
“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 to spot signs earlier, at the stage when it’s much more treatable.
“I would urge anyone who receives an invite from the Targeted Lung Health Check programme, even if you don’t have any symptoms, to take up the offer of a free check-up, it could save your life. If you do have symptoms and you’re worried it could be cancer, please don’t delay in coming forward – your GP will want to see you.”
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.
Cancer survival is at an all-time high in England and the latest data shows the NHS is diagnosing more patients with cancer at an earlier stage than ever before, when it is easier to treat – over 100,000 (104,012) patients were diagnosed with cancer at stages one or two when it is easier to treat – the highest proportion on record.
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. Advice to help people stop smoking is also provided to those who attend.
The scanner is housed in a mobile unit and can be taken to accessible areas across the city and county.
The Targeted Lung Health Check programme estimates it will diagnose around 9,000 cancers in England earlier than would otherwise have been without the 43 places running the checks. This offers the opportunity for earlier interventions, including curative surgery, which will save people’s lives.