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Car park lung health checks launched in drive to save lives

Past and current smokers in Tameside and Glossop are being invited to an NHS lung health check, in a drive to improve earlier diagnosis of lung cancer and save more lives.

With one of the highest mortality rates for lung cancer in England, Tameside and Glossop is one of 23 places across the country to run the Targeted Lung Health Check (TLHC) programme.

Starting this week, GP letters will be sent to households as part of a new screening project, jointly organised by Tameside and Glossop Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) and Manchester University Foundation Trust (MFT).

The initiative means more than 58,000 people aged from 55 to under 75 in the area will be invited to a lung health check by their GP, and over 65 per cent will be eligible for an appointment based on their smoking history. Over two years, this will identify an estimated 400 cases of lung cancer earlier than otherwise would have been.

The lung health check takes place in two stages. The first is an initial phone assessment with a specially trained health care professional. If the assessment finds the person to be at high risk, they are offered a low dose CT scan of the lungs for further investigation.

The scanner is housed in a mobile unit and is being taken to accessible areas in across Tameside and Glossop, including its first location - the car park for Manchester City’s Etihad Stadium.

Checks will take place over a two-year period starting in July and patients will be contacted in groups depending on which GP practice they are registered with. The first set of patients to receive these letters will be from the Market Street GP practice in Droylsden.

This programme will help improve early diagnosis and survival for people with cancer, in line with the NHS Long Term Plan.

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.

The TLHC programme estimates it will diagnose around 6,000 cancers earlier than would otherwise have been within the 23 places it is currently established. This offers the opportunity for more and earlier interventions, including curative surgery, which will save people’s lives. Stop smoking advice will also be available to support current smokers.

Dr Ashwin Ramachandra, joint chair of Tameside and Glossop CCG, said: “I’m delighted Tameside and Glossop has been selected for this pilot project to provide early diagnosis for serious lung conditions. 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 encourage who receives an invitation letter to contact the bookings team as soon as possible.”

Professor Richard Booton, clinical director of lung cancer and thoracic surgery at Wythenshawe Hospital, part of MFT, said: “We’re very pleased to be supporting Tameside and Glossop CCG on the rollout of this project following the success of our pioneering scheme in Manchester. These targeted lung health checks will save lives, not just by finding cancers earlier, but also in identifying a range of other health conditions such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and cardiovascular disease.”

For more information on the Targeted Lung Health Check programme, visit https://www.tamesideandglossopccg.org/lunghealthcheck or call 0161 529 0900.

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