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Targeted lung health check programme: Over 3,000 cancers detected since 2019

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The prevalence of lung cancer is greatest in areas of high deprivation, says Dr Page

The NHS England is rapidly expanding the targeted lung health check programme (TLHC) across England to detect lung cancers at an early stage.

Launched in 2019, it is a national scheme that identifies people aged 55-74 at increased risk of lung cancer to invite them for a lung health check and chest CT scan, if appropriate.

Since then, it has heled detect over 3,000 lung cancers, mostly at an early stage when the condition is more treatable, Dr Jason Page, Clinical Director of South Yorkshire and Bassetlaw targeted lung health checks, revealed in a blog on the NHS website.

The decision to initiate the programme follows a study that showed CT screening reduced lung cancer mortality by 26 per cent in men and between 39 per cent and 61 per cent in women.

Initially the scheme was rolled out in 10 sites, including South Yorkshire and Bassetlaw, from where over 350 cancers have been found so far.

In South Yorkshire, 309 lung cancers have been diagnosed under this programme, 73 per cent of which were at an early stage with a high rate of survival, said Dr Page, adding that the condition would otherwise have gone undiagnosed.

Additionally, 79 other cancers were detected, including breast, kidney, lymphomas, and even a skin cancer.

Nearly two-thirds of the people scanned were found to have coronary artery calcification, a risk factor for heart attacks and strokes, and a quarter of participants had a non-cancerous lung disease such as bronchiectasis or emphysema.

“The prevalence of lung cancer is greatest in areas of high deprivation, but within those areas some people will be at even higher risk and may also be disproportionately impacted by health inequalities,” Dr Page, who is also the Medical Director of Rotherham Place within South Yorkshire Integrated Care Board, said.

He further informed that they have rolled out trucks in locations across Doncaster, Rotherham, Bassetlaw and Barnsley, and are now in the very early stages of planning for Sheffield.

 

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