A Healthier Lancashire and South Cumbria



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Diagnosis and treatment

The diagnosis and treatment of lung cancer is supported by comprehensive guidelines from NICE. These show that it is possible to successfully treat lung cancer, especially when diagnosed at an early stage.

The national cancer strategy, Improving Outcomes: A Strategy for Cancer 2011 notes better survival rates in some other countries and recognises the importance of diagnosing cancer earlier in the UK.

Achieving World-class Cancer Outcomes -A Strategy for England 2015-2020 report of the Independent Cancer Taskforce that has been adopted by NHS England again stresses the importance of earlier diagnosis. It also makes clear the importance of listening to patient views, adopting innovative approaches and making the necessary investments to transform outcomes.

Targeted Lung Health Checks is one of the first projects to roll out following the launch of the NHS Long Term Plan, which sets an ambition that by 2028, 75% of cancer will be diagnosed at stages 1 or 2; improving on the current national figure of 50%.

Aim of the programme

The aim of the programme is to deliver Lung Health Checks to populations with the highest risk of developing lung cancer in order to identify lung cancer at an earlier stage.

During a trial of the programme in Manchester, 65% of lung cancers were diagnosed at stage 1 and 13% at stage 4, compared to 18% at stage 1 and 48% at stage 4 before the trial.

The main health outcomes for the programme are to increase the:

  • proportion of lung cancers diagnosed at an early stage
  • proportion of lung cancers that are treated with curative interventions
  • number of sustained quits in people that smoke

National pilot programme

The lung health check programme is part of a national pilot programme and its outcomes will be evaluated to ascertain if the service as a whole is a success.

The lung health check service will improve health outcomes and quality of life by enabling more people to be identified at an earlier stage for serious respiratory disease, with a better chance of putting in place positive ways to substantially reduce the risk of respiratory disease morbidity, premature death or disability.

The lung health check service is not a purely diagnostic service, but is part of a wider process that should ensure that people with respiratory problems gain an accurate diagnosis and appropriate treatment and support, including if they are smokers, support to help them quit.

Programme protocols: NHS England » Targeted Screening for Lung Cancer with Low Radiation Dose Computed Tomography

Targeted Lung Health Checks (TLHC) have been offered to people in Blackpool and Blackburn with Darwen; they are now being extended into East Lancashire by the approximate dates below.

 May 2022  Rossendale
 September 2022  Burnley
 March 2023  Hyndburn
 July 2023  Pendle
 January 2024  Ribblesdale


For further information please contact: healthier.lsc@nhs.net


The programme lead for Targeted Lung Health Check is Anne Turner.

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"Lung cancer remains the leading cause of cancer death in the UK and many other countries. The lung can be a clinically silent area, so many tumours will only present at an advanced stage."
"For this reason, survival rates have remained stubbornly low for decades. Research has shown in the last ten years that treatment of early stage lung cancer detected by CT screening has the ability to radically change these figures, offering survival rates of up to 70%."
"We are proud to be amongst the first in the country to offer our patients this technique, and I hope you will join us on this journey."
John Howells
Clinical Director for Targeted Lung Health Checks



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