BRITS are being urged to visit NHS health trucks in supermarket car parks to get lung cancer check-ups.
Already the service has given 600 diagnoses to people across the UK, who may have otherwise gone undetected until it was too late.
The NHS will be sending invites to people to visit the trucks which are situated in convenient sites including supermarkets and sports centres.
And it predicts that 7,700 lung cancer cases will be caught earlier by 2024-25 as a result.
So far, 23 existing truck sites have issued up to 25,000 invitations every month.
A further 20 NHS lung truck sites are due to go live shortly with the capacity to invite 750,000 more people.
Dame Cally Palmer, NHS cancer director, said: “These lung checks can save lives – by going out into communities we find more people who may not have otherwise realised they have lung cancer.
“The trucks are conveniently located to make them easy to access.
“It is vital that as soon as you are invited, you take up the offer and come forward for these potentially life-saving checks.”
She said the rollout of our Targeted Lung Health Check Programme was a “huge step forward” for early cancer detection.
The initiative has seen more than three quarters of cancers caught at either stage one or two, when patients have a better chance of survival.
This compares to less than a third of cancers caught at either stage one or two in 2018.
Around 47,000 people in the UK are diagnosed with lung cancer every year.
Lung health checks are already offered to some people by the NHS but only a third take up the offer, figures show.
The NHS said those most at risk of lung cancer, like former or current smokers, are invited for a “Lung MOT” in the mobile trucks.
The trucks will go to corners of the countr with the highest death rates from lung cancer.
Those who are highest at risk will also be given an on-the-spot chest scan.
The teams have identified thousands of people with other undiagnosed conditions including respiratory and heart disease.
Professor Peter Johnson, NHS clinical director for cancer, said: “Lives are saved when cancers are caught early and when more people are referred for tests….”
Prof Johnson urged people to go to their GP if they have symptoms of lung cancer.
Smoking causes around seven out of every 10 cases of lung cancer.
Lung cancer is the biggest cause of cancer deaths in the UK, accounting for a fifth.
The disease doesn’t tend to cause symptoms until it is advanced.
It makes spotting the signs even more important in order to get potentially life-saving treatment as soon as possible.
Look out for:
- Chronic cough
- Coughing up blood
- Persistent breathlessness
- Repeated chest infections
- Loss of appetite/weight loss
Many people that light up have a so-called “smokers cough”.
This can mask lung cancer, as a chronic cough is the most common symptom.
If you are experiencing a cough that hasn’t gone away after two or three weeks, see a doctor.
Coughed-up blood will be bright red, and may be bubbly because it is mixed with mucus and air from the respiratory tract.
If you are finding it harder to take those stairs, or put the shopping away, you could have persistent breathlessness caused by lung cancer.
Repeated chest infections are a key sign of lung cancer. That’s because a tumour can block the airways.
Less common symptoms of lung cancer include:
- Changes in the appearance of your fingers, such as becoming more curved or their ends becoming larger (this is known as finger clubbing)
- Difficulty swallowing (dysphagia) or pain when swallowing
- A hoarse voice
- Swelling of your face or neck
- Persistent chest or shoulder pain
‘We thought it was just a smoker’s cough’
A MAN who just thought he had a “smoker’s cough” ended up with a lung cancer diagnosis from one of the NHS’ health trucks.
Danny and his partner Christine both went through the check.
Christine said: “We received an invitation letter and are so thankful that we made the decision to go ahead with the lung health check.
“Unfortunately, the CT scan picked something up on Danny’s lung and within days we were at Castle Hill Hospital receiving a lung cancer diagnosis.
“He had no symptoms other than a cough, which we naturally put down to smoking, and we were shocked to find out the growth was really large.
“We were so lucky, the lung health check caught it just in time and the amazing cancer team at Castle Hill Hospital were able to operate and remove the cancer without need for chemo or radiotherapy.
“Danny is now completely cancer free, but if it wasn’t for the lung health check, he simply wouldn’t be here today.
“We are so grateful to the amazing team who saved my husband’s life and would urge anyone who is invited to take up the offer”.