A programme to spot the early signs of lung cancer in patients has begun its roll out in parts of east and north Hertfordshire. Eligible patients will be invited for a free Targeted Lung Health Check from this week if they are aged 55 to 74, smoke or have ever smoked and are registered with one of 14 GP practices taking part in the programme.

Organisations including Hertfordshire and West Essex Integrated Care Board (ICB), GP practices and East and North Hertfordshire NHS Trust have come together to deliver the programme. It is designed to identify those most at risk of lung cancer and find signs of cancer even before patients have any symptoms.

Dr Jane Halpin, Hertfordshire and West Essex Chief Executive, said: “The Targeted Lung Health Check programme is a fantastic way of spotting the very early signs of cancer, a time when it is most treatable. In its early stages lung cancer rarely has symptoms which means three in four patients are diagnosed late. The Targeted Lung Health Checks are free and can literally save your life.”

Eligible patients will receive a letter inviting them to arrange an appointment where they will discuss their lung health and smoking history. If the team thinks the patient is at high risk of lung cancer, they will be invited for a low-dose CT scan at a convenient local location, along with an appointment with a nurse. If the patient needs further investigation they will be referred on for more tests, whether it is cancer or not. All results of tests will be shared with patients’ GPs and remain on their hospital records for future reference.

For now, the programme is only available at the 14 GP practices identified as having registered patients at the highest risk of lung cancer in east and north Hertfordshire. Letters are being sent out to eligible patients over the period of several weeks.

It is hoped the programme will roll out to other parts of Hertfordshire and west Essex in the future and by 2029, become part of a national programme.

If you or someone you know receives a letter inviting them for a free Targeted Lung Health Check, do encourage them to make an appointment as soon as possible.

The Targeted Lung Health Check programme is the biggest programme in health service history to improve early lung cancer diagnosis. More than one million people across the country have been invited for a free check, with three-quarters of cancers found caught at the earliest stages when chances of survival are higher.

The lung health checks can spot the signs of lung cancer even before a patient has symptoms, but if someone has the symptoms below it is important they make an appointment with their GP as soon as possible:

· a cough that does not go away after three weeks

· a long-standing cough that gets worse

· chest infections that keep coming back

· coughing up blood

· an ache or pain when breathing or coughing

· persistent breathlessness

· persistent tiredness or lack of energy

· loss of appetite or unexplained weight loss

The checks also help find other undiagnosed respiratory conditions, which means these patients can get treatment quicker. Visit the Targeted Lung Health Check programme website for more information.


Notes to Editors

1. NHS Hertfordshire and West Essex Integrated Care Board (ICB) is the local NHS organisation that plans and oversees how NHS money is spent and makes sure health services work well and are of high quality.

2. The press office at the ICB can be contacted at Hweicbenh.communications@nhs.net.

3. You can also get information on local health services by following the NHS Hertfordshire and West Essex Integrated Care Board (ICB) on social media at @NHS_HWE.

Return to News