We are running an innovative Targeted Lung Health Check programme across Greenwich for the first time. The programme will identify lung cancer and other respiratory conditions early on, enabling more people to access treatment early when the chance of survival is much higher. All 55 to 74 year olds who have ever smoked are being contacted and encouraged to take part and the programme has been so popular it is being extended by an additional 4 weeks (16 instead of the planned 12) to enable more people to get checked.
People with lung cancer often don’t have symptoms until it is too late. Smokers and former smokers aged 55 to 74 are at greater risk of developing lung cancer, so a lung health check helps us spot early signs of cancer when it is more treatable. People taking part have an initial conversation with a healthcare professional and, if needed, a simple scan of their lungs. The check can detect lung cancer and other respiratory conditions early on, allowing time to treat patients early, when the chance of survival is much higher.
Currently, new lung cancer cases in south east London are the highest in London, with the majority of these cases diagnosed at a later stage. In fact, only 24 per cent of lung cancers in south east London are diagnosed early (stage 1 and 2). Often people in the early stages of lung cancer will not experience any symptoms so the checks are an important way of identifying issues early.
The Targeted Lung Health Check programme is a partnership between the NHS South East London Cancer Alliance (SELCA), Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust and Alliance Medical who are working with public health and primary care services in the borough. It launched in February 2023 and will see around 18,000 residents being invited by post for their lung health check. So far, uptake has been high. In fact the programme has been so popular that it has been extended from 12 to 16 weeks to ensure that more people can get checked.
Visit www.sel-lunghealthcheck.nhs.uk for more information.