Smokers on Teesside urged to give their lungs a free check
SMOKERS across Teesside are being urged to take up their invitation for a free lung check as part of a drive to improve early diagnosis of lung cancer.
The NHS are running clinics at mobile units across Teesside and it is currently in Stockton, at ASDA Car Park, Portrack Lane.
The NHS targeted lung health check has recently been approved as a national screening programme. It encourages past and current smokers to get their lungs a 'MOT' in a drive 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 is one of 43 places across the country to run the targeted lung health check programme.
More than 50,000 past and current smokers aged 55 to 74 are being invited to attend an appointment and to take part.
Mr Johnny Ferguson, lung cancer surgeon and clinical lead for the NHS Targeted Lung Health Check programme said: "Lung cancer is the largest cause of cancer deaths in Tees Valley for both men and women and lung health checks could help in the early detection of an estimated 536 cases of lung cancer in our region.
“I would encourage all who are offered an appointment to accept, and I'd also encourage all families to persuade relatives who receive an invitation to contact us.
"The letter you receive could be the most important letter that ever lands on your doorstep. It could be a letter that saves your life.
"In the 19th Century we built sewers to control infection, in the 20th Century we used seatbelts and airbags in our cars to protect us from injury, in the 21st Century we will use scanners to find and cure cancer - every two days we scan, we will save a life in the Tees Valley.”
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 director of placed based delivery, Central and Tees Valley, 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 lungs and these simple check-ups are a great way to do just that."
"As an ICB we are focused on delivering improvements across all our services, as well as tackling inequalities and improving the overall health and wellbeing of our communities."
"Having these additional points of access 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."
For more information on the NHS Targeted Lung Health Check programme please visit www.screeningsaveslives.co.uk/targeted-lung-health-check.