Targeted Lung Health Checks are aimed at achieving earlier detection of lung cancer, 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 were introduced initially in Luton and Thurrock, as part of a pilot project during 2021. Then later introduced in Southend, Bedford, Great Yarmouth, Harlow and Central Bedfordshire in 2022 and early 2023. We expect units launching in Clacton and Peterborough later in 2023. News about the introduction of the first Targeted Lung Health Checks being launched in our region in Luton, are mentioned in our news pages (available here).
As of April 2023, more than 1750 people have been diagnosed with lung cancer through the Targeted Lung Health Checks offered across the country, cases that would otherwise have been indentified at a later stage. There are now 43 sites in total across the country, which have together offered more than 300,000 appointments.
The Targeted Lung Health Check Programme is offered to those aged 55 to 74 who are at greater risk of developing lung cancer due to being current or former smokers.
The Targeted Lung Health Check takes place in two steps. The first is a meeting or phone call with a specially trained health professional to assess the persons risk of lung cancer. Then if necessary this is followed by a low dose CT scan of the lungs.
Usually the majority of lung cancer cases are identified at a later stage (stage 4), with most (around 85%) of cases among people who smoke or who have a history of smoking.
Resources (including videos like the one shown here) are available to public health professionals involved in promoting the campaign.
Information is available elsewhere on our website for members of the public, 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.