Hundreds of people have been diagnosed with lung cancer earlier through the use of mobile screening trucks, NHS England has announced.
The community initiative, part of the NHS Targeted Lung Health Check Programme, has seen more than three quarters (77%) of cancers caught at either stage one or two, giving patients a much better chance of beating the illness. This compares to less than a third of cancers caught at either stage one or two in 2018. 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.
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‘These lung checks can save lives – by going out into communities we find more people who may not have otherwise realised they have lung cancer – with hundreds already diagnosed and hundreds of thousands due to be invited,’ said Dame Cally Palmer, NHS cancer director.
‘The trucks are conveniently located to make them easy to access and it is vital that as soon as you are invited, you take up the offer and come forward for these potentially life-saving checks.’
The NHS lung trucks visit convenient community sites including supermarket carparks, sports and shopping centres, and carry out targeted lung health checks in areas of the country that have some of the highest death rates from lung cancer as part of a major drive to catch more cancers earlier and save lives.
Not only do the lung trucks scan for cancer, but they’ve also identified thousands of people with other undiagnosed conditions including respiratory and cardiovascular disease, enabling them to access the treatment they need earlier, and helping to prevent potential hospitalisations.
‘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,’ said Professor Peter Johnson, NHS clinical director for cancer.
‘Lives are saved when cancers are caught early and when more people are referred for tests, which is why the NHS has put so much effort into early diagnosis in recent years.’