Targeted Lung Health Checks are aimed at achieving earlier detection of lung cancer and other respiratory diseases, in areas where the population has a higher mortality from this type of cancer. By detecting lung cancer earlier and identifying it at an earlier stage when it is much more treatable and there is a higher chance of survival, the programme can save lives. 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.
In the East of England, health checks have already been introduced in Luton and Thurrock, and are being introduced in 2022 in Norfolk and Waveney and in Suffolk and North East Essex. News about the introduction of Targeted Lung Health Checks in Luton and the arrival of mobile CT scanning units for the area, is mentioned in our news pages (available here).
Cancer Alliances across the UK have now introduced a Targeted Lung Health Check programme. As of May 2022, around 600 people have been diagnosed with lung cancer through the Targeted Lung Health Checks, whose cancers would otherwise have been indentified at a later stage, there are 23 existing mobile unit sites which have together issued around 25,000 invitations every month.
The health check comprises a discussion about lung cancer symptoms and smoking cessation advice from the specialist nurse. Following the check-up a low dose CT scan is offered to those at higher risk.
The majority of lung cancer cases are identified at a later stage (stage 4), with most (around 85%) of lung cancer cases among people who smoke or who have a history of smoking.
Hence targeted health checks are offered to people with a history of smoking who are in the higher risk age groups of 55 to 74.
Information is available to members of the public about the Targeted Lung Health Check programme, see here.
Lung cancer causes more deaths than any other cancer in the UK. It is commonly diagnosed too late, due to there often being no symptoms at the earlier stages. Attending a Targeted Lung Health Check can help find issues early, often before symptoms occur.
Overall, we expect as many as 1.5 million people will have been invited for a lung health check across the country by 2024/25 with an estimated 7,700 cases caught earlier.