Wigan supermarket car park lung health checks launched in drive to save more lives

Past and current smokers in Wigan aged between 55 and 74 are being invited to have an NHS Lung Health Check.
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The new checks are the latest phase of the Greater Manchester Targeted Lung Health Check Programme - a drive to help improve earlier diagnosis of lung cancer and save more lives.

The programme is jointly organised by the Greater Manchester Cancer Alliance and Manchester University NHS Foundation Trust.

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A scanner and clinic will be housed in a mobile unit in Tesco, Hindley, from November 13 before moving to more areas in Wigan in 2024.

The Greater Manchester lung health check unitThe Greater Manchester lung health check unit
The Greater Manchester lung health check unit
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The service will operate six days a week from 8am to 8pm to ensure that appointments are accessible to everyone who’s invited.

GP letters will be sent out to smokers and former smokers aged 55 to 74 in the Hindley primary care network.

Greater Manchester has one of the highest mortality rates for lung cancer in England. The Lung Health Checks have already been operating in some parts of Greater Manchester – including North Manchester, Salford and Tameside. There are further plans to expand the programme in the coming years to ensure that all eligible participants are invited.

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CT scanner
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Patients who are invited for a lung health check will firstly talk to specialist nurse where they will answer some health and lifestyle questions which will determine whether they are high or low risk. If deemed high risk, they will be offered a low-dose computed tomography (CT) scan of their lungs for further investigation on the same day and be enrolled into the programme.

Most visitors to the Lung Health Checks will get reassurance that everything is OK or be referred to get help to stop smoking.

So far 450 patients have been diagnosed with lung cancer as a result of the Lung Health Checks in Greater Manchester, however, almost 80% of these patients were diagnosed at stage 1 or 2 meaning they were more likely to be eligible for curative treatment.

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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Dr Liam Hosie, a Wigan GP based at Dicconson General Practice, said: “If you are a past or current smoker, it is very important to take up your invitation for a lung health check when your GP contacts you. It really can help to save lives.”

Dr Sanjay Wahie, Clinical Director for the Hindley Primary Care Network and a Wigan GP based at Pennygate Medical Centre, added: “The survival rate for lung cancer significantly increases if it’s caught in the early stages and through our approach to these targeted lung health checks will be contacting residents most at risk. I’d encourage all patients who are contacted by their doctors’ surgery and offered a Lung Health Check to take up the opportunity.”

Lung cancer can often be caught too late as there are rarely symptoms at the earlier stages. The programme is designed to check those most at risk of developing lung cancer in order to spot signs earlier, at the stage when it’s much more treatable and ultimately saving more lives.

Prof Richard Booton, Clinical Lead for Lung Cancer at Wythenshawe Hospital part of MFT and Programme Director for the Greater Manchester Targeted Lung Health Check programme, said: “The targeted Lung Health Check programme is revolutionary for finding cancers earlier.

"By bringing the scanner directly into the community – like we are doing in Hindley - the scheme can directly contact those at most risk and intervene when the cancer is at its most treatable.”

Alison Jones, Director of Cancer Commissioning and Early Diagnosis at Greater Manchester Cancer Alliance, said: “So many people have already benefitted from having a targeted lung health check and we look forward to expanding this service to Hindley so that more people can benefit. We want to find cancer at the earliest stages when chances of successful treatment are more likely.”

The Department for Health and Social Care has predicted that rolling out screening to high-risk 55 to 74 year olds will save lives by detecting up to 9,000 lung cancers a year at an early stage across England.

The Hindley Targeted Lung Health Checks will initially focus on three Primary Care Networks.

Patients in these practices will be contacted by letter by their GP. For more information on the Targeted Lung Health Check programme please visit www.mft.nnhs.uk/lunghealthcheck

If you have concerning symptoms should speak to their GP who will be able to refer you for tests if needed. You can read about symptoms of lung cancer here Lung cancer - Symptoms - NHS (www.nhs.uk)