Past and current smokers in Merton are being invited for a free NHS lung health check in a drive to improve earlier diagnosis of lung conditions, including cancer.
Merton and Wandsworth are the latest boroughs to be offered the programme as part of its London roll out. In Merton one in seven people currently smokes, approximately 21,300 in total.
The lung health check takes place in two stages. The first is an initial phone assessment with a specially trained respiratory nurse. If the assessment finds the person to be at high risk, they are offered a low dose CT scan of the lungs at a mobile scanning unit based at a local, accessible site.
The aim is to pick up lung cancers, and other lung-related health problems, at an earlier stage, with better outcomes for our patients needing treatment.”
If patients need further assessment or treatment following their scan, they will be referred on to local services such as St Georges University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust.
Dr Navdeep Alg, local GP and GP clinical lead for cancer in Merton said: ‘With great partnership work and collaboration between Merton GPs, Royal Brompton Hospital, St Georges hospital and RM Partners, we are excited to roll out the targeted lung health checks in Merton. Patients who are eligible, following a health check screen, may be offered a low dose CT scan on their lungs. The aim is to pick up lung cancers, and other lung-related health problems, at an earlier stage, with better outcomes for our patients needing treatment.”
We would encourage everyone who receives an invitation to take advantage of this opportunity.”
Dr Anand Devaraj, Consultant Radiologist at The Royal Brompton Hospital and Clinical Director for the West London lung health checks programme said: “The roll out of the project in Merton is an exciting step towards accelerating early diagnosis and improving outcomes for patients. We would encourage everyone who receives an invitation to take advantage of this opportunity.
“A simple check could lead to an earlier diagnosis of lung cancer or other respiratory conditions with a much better chance of being able to treat them successfully. It’s thanks to great teamwork and a collaborative effort across our local services that we’re able to provide this service for people in Merton, which will ultimately help us save more lives.”
The project is a collaboration between RM Partners, the West London Cancer Alliance hosted by The Royal Marsden, Royal Brompton Hospital, and NHS South West London ICB.
More information on lung health checks in west London is available at: lunghealthchecks-westlondon.nhs.uk
Lung cancer is by far the most common cause of death from cancer in the UK because there are rarely symptoms in the earlier stages. This means many people are diagnosed late, when treatment has a more limited impact. The aim of the project is to find more lung cancers at an earlier, more treatable stage.
To date the NHS targeted lung health check programme has enabled more than three quarters (77%) of cancers to be diagnosed at either stage one or two, giving patients a much better chance of having successful treatment. In 2018, fewer than a third of lung cancers were diagnosed at either stage one or two.
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 Targeted Lung Health Check programme estimates it will diagnose around 9,000 cancers earlier than would otherwise have been within the 43 sites running the checks. This offers the opportunity for earlier interventions, including curative surgery, which will save people’s lives. Stop smoking advice will also be offered to support current smokers.