The NHS is urging vulnerable people to go along to a lung cancer screening if they are invited. They say the tests are vital for smokers and former smokers catching lung cancer signs early
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The NHS has issued a warning to all current and former cigarette smokers.
Professor Peter Johnson, NHS clinical director for cancer, said: “Lung cancer can often be hard to detect at an early stage and so these checks, close to people’s homes, show how the NHS is taking action to find more people with cancer.”
Catching cancer early is key to being able to treat it effectively and the health service is urging people to go and get a check for lung cancer in community testing sites, known as the Targeted Lung Health Check Programme.
The NHS said: “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.”
The teams at the center say they have so far diagnosed 600 people with the disease in their traveling trucks up and down the country.
Am I eligible for a lunch cancer check?
The NHS is inviting those most at risk of lung cancer to the checks and these people include current and ex-smokers.
The health service said that since the initiative 77% were caught at either stage one or two, giving patients a better chance of survival.
Despite this, the NHS has been forced to urge at-risk patients to come forward for their checks. Their data says that only 35% of patients go to their lung check when invited by the NHS.
Smokers or former smokers between 55 and 74 are invited to speak to a healthcare professional for a scan.
Dame Cally Palmer, NHS cancer director, said: “These lung checks can save lives – by going out into communities we find more people who may not have otherwise realized they have lung cancer – with hundreds already diagnosed and hundreds of thousands due to be invited .”
Where can I get the NHS lung cancer check?
For those invited, the NHS lung trucks are conveniently located at “community sites including supermarket car parks, sports and shopping centres”.
Around 1.5 million people will be invited by 2024-2025, although this shouldn’t stop people from going to the doctor if they have concerns.
Professor Johnson said: “We know that some people had concerns seeking help during the pandemic but if you do have a worrying symptom or have been coughing for three weeks or more, please do contact your GP and get checked out.”
Bill Simpson is from Nottingham and took part in the scheme which helped catch his lung cancer early.
He told NHS England: “At the initial appointment I was told I needed a CT scan and then a PET scan. That was when I was told – “you have lung cancer. However, it’s localized, it’s a very small amount and it hasn’t spread.”
“One minute you’ve been given a death sentence, the next you’re getting a reprieve, and it comes out in two sentences!”
“The whole process, from the initial tests to having the operation and getting out of hospital, took about six weeks. You’re operated on and a couple of days later you can go home. You’re fixed, you’re mended, you feel great! The doctors have said it’s given me ten more years of my life.”