About Lung Health Checks

Why are we offering Lung Health Checks?

The NHS Long Term Plan, published in January 2019, sets out a wide range of ambitions for the NHS to achieve over the next 10 years. A number of these ambitions centre on improving cancer survival through earlier diagnosis, with the plan committing to increase the proportion of cancers diagnosed early from half to three quarters by 2028. This increase would mean 55,000 more people each year surviving for at least 5 years after diagnosis.

The NHS recognises that lung cancer is an area where early diagnosis is desperately needed to help improve survival and Lung Health Checks are therefore being rolled out across England.

As well as helping to diagnose lung cancer at an early stage, Lung Health Checks will also help identify other lung conditions.

Lung cancer is often diagnosed at a late stage because symptoms aren’t always apparent until the disease is advanced, or because people are too worried about being diagnosed with lung cancer to seek help. Lung Health Checks help detect early stage lung cancers, often before people have any symptoms and at a point when treatment is simpler and more successful. This is done by identifying those people most at risk of developing lung cancer and offering them a CT scan. The CT scan can help identify early changes.

A recent study (NELSON Lung Cancer Trial) showed that scanning people at higher risk of developing lung cancer reduced mortality from the disease by 26% in men and between 39 and 61% in women.

Across the North East and North Cumbria, it is expected that around 3,600 lung cancers will be detected in the next few years as a result of Lung Health Checks. As many of these cancers will be early stage, this will mean that hundreds of lives will be saved.

When you receive your invitation, please attend your appointment: it might just save your life.

Is this a National Screening Programme?

Targeted Lung Health Checks are in the process of being implemented as a National Screening Programme.

In September 2022, the UK National Screening Committee (UK NSC) recommended targeted screening for lung cancer for people aged 55-74 identified as being at high risk of lung cancer.

Further work is needed to refine and implement the UK NSC’s recommendations. In the meantime, the Targeted Lung Health Checks Programme will continue in the North East and North Cumbria.

Further information on the UK NSC recommendation can be found here.