Enable Recite
Skip to main content

SMOKERS across the country are being urged to take up their invitation for a free lung MOT as part of a drive to improve early diagnosis of lung cancer.

The NHS targeted lung health check has now been approved as a national screening programme which encourages past and current smokers to get their lungs checked in order to improve earlier diagnosis of lung cancer and save more lives.

Teesside has one of the highest mortality rates for lung cancer in England and was one of 43 places across the country to run the initial targeted lung health check pilot in 2022.

Joan Calvert, 72, a past smoker from Teesside, who gave up cigarettes after suffering a heart attack in 2012, is one of the patients to have received life-saving treatment following the pilot scheme. "I was invited to have a lung health check and was shocked to be told it was cancer as I hadn't smoked in years," said Joan.

"My initial CT scan showed nodules in my right lung and after further check-ups, scans and a biopsy I was referred for surgery to remove the cancer - the care I received was amazing!

"Everything was explained to me from start to finish, what was going to happen, where I would be treated, who would be looking after me. It was a whirlwind, but at the end of the day it was sorted, and I was able to come home and recuperate.

"I feel so grateful that my cancer was caught in time. I dread to think what might’ve happened if I hadn’t accepted the offer of a scan, so if you do get the letter, please respond - have it done, it's painless, it's quick and it could save your life!".

Lung cancer rarely presents any symptoms at the earlier stages. The programme is designed to check those most at risk of developing the disease to spot signs at a stage when it’s more treatable. People diagnosed with lung cancer early are nearly 20 times more likely to survive for five years than those whose cancer is caught late.

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

Executive area director - south, for the North East and North Cumbria Integrated Care Board (ICB), Dave Gallagher, added: “It is so important we do everything we can to look after our health and these simple check-ups are a great way to do just that."

"Having these mobile units for people to get their lungs checked and receive an early diagnosis will save lives, so if you are contacted by a member of the team offering you a lung health check, please take it.”

"We have already seen the benefits of this programme with patients receiving early detection and earlier lifesaving treatment."

If you have concerns about your health or are displaying any symptoms of lung cancer, please speak to your GP as soon as possible.

Back to top