Why are we offering lung health checks?
There are often no signs or symptoms of lung cancer at an early stage. As a result, sadly seven out of 10 cancer patients are diagnosed too late to be cured. Targeted lung health checks can help diagnose lung cancer early, at a stage where treatment can be simpler and more successful.
What is a targeted lung health check?
A targeted lung health check is a two-stage process to help assess the health of your lungs.
It begins with a telephone call or meeting where a nurse will ask a series of questions to evaluate your chance of developing lung cancer.
If you are identified as someone who is at an increased risk of developing lung cancer you will be invited for a scan of your lungs.
Why have I been invited?
If you live in one of the areas where we are delivering the checks, are aged 55 to 74 and have ever smoked, you will be invited to a lung health check, providing your smoking status is correctly recorded on your GP record.
What happens at a targeted lung health check?
You will be invited to an initial assessment which usually takes place over the phone.
You will be contacted at the time of your appointment by a nurse who will ask a series of questions about your smoking history, lifestyle and current health and well-being.
The nurse will complete two risk assessments based on the answers given. If you meet a certain risk threshold on either of the risk assessments, you will be offered a low-dose CT scan.
The risks and benefits of the CT scan will be explained to you by the health professional.
Where are targeted lung health checks being offered?
They are initially being offered in areas of England with the highest lung cancer mortality rates and we are now expanding the checks across the country.
In Lancashire and South Cumbria, they are being offered in Blackpool, Blackburn with Darwen and in East Lancashire.
In 2023, the Government announced that TLHCs is now a national screening programme, which would roll out to cover the whole of the country over the next few years. You can read the announcement here.
Why does early diagnosis make a difference?
Data from the targeted lung health check programme so far shows that with these potentially life-saving checks, lung cancer early diagnosis rates can be as high as 80 per cent - compared to less than 30 per cent without this type of intervention – enabling doctors to treat cases sooner, when curative treatment is more possible, saving more lives.
I have received an invitation to another CT scan - why?
Two-year follow-up scans are offered to everyone who received a CT scan at their first Targeted Lung Health Check and who received the ‘all clear’.
We strongly encourage anyone who had an initial scan to attend their two-year follow-up when they are invited for an appointment so that we can spot any issues that might have developed.
Letters are being sent by post to people in Blackburn with Darwen and Blackpool who received their first CT scan two years ago. Please do come to your appointment – it could be lifesaving.