Thousands of lives potentially saved in Rossendale due to Lung MOTs

Date posted: 21st July 2022

Almost 3,000 people in Rossendale have received potentially life-saving lung health “MOTs” since a new NHS scheme was launched in May.

The Targeted Lung Health Check Programme is designed to identify signs of cancer at an early stage when it is much more treatable and ultimately saving more lives. Currently, the programme is being offered to people living in Rossendale who are aged between 55 and 74 and have ever smoked.

The lung health check finds out how well a participant’s lungs are working and hopes to identify problems early. Lung cancer is frequently diagnosed at a later stage than other cancers because often there are no signs or symptoms at an early stage.

Over the past two months, patients at greater risk of developing lung cancer have been invited for free, targeted lung health checks with a specialist nurse, which have so far identified suspected health issues in more than 25 cases.

The programme has already been hailed a success by local health chiefs, and they are encouraging everyone who is eligible to take up the invite.

Dr Neil Smith, local GP and Primary Care Director for the Lancashire and South Cumbria Cancer Alliance, said: “It is encouraging to see that there has been a good uptake for these free targeted lung health checks, and that they are already having an impact.

“Thousands of people in the area have already been invited, and some may have ignored it or are putting off going because they are worried - but if you are registered with a GP in Rossendale, aged from 55 to 74, and you smoke or have ever smoked, I’d encourage you to take the time out of your day for this vital check, which is just like having an ‘MOT’ of your lungs.”

Research has shown that people are often scared to come forward for the checks in case a problem is detected. In most cases nothing is found, however, in the small number of cases where suspected lung cancer - or any other health concern – is identified, early detection means that treatment could be simpler and more successful.

Of the 2,931 lung health check telephone consultations in Rossendale that have been completed (up to the end of June), more than 50 per cent were referred for a CT scan as a precaution – resulting in 20 people being referred for suspected lung cancer, and a small number of other potential health conditions also being identified.

Dr Smith added: “A lung health check can give you the reassurance that your lungs are healthy, or it can help find problems early – often before you notice anything is wrong. In the cases where people have been referred for scans, they have picked up some potential health issues before many of those patients will have even had symptoms.

“Sometimes people are worried about being told they have an illness, which is only natural, but identifying something such as lung cancer at an early stage can be the difference between life and death.”

The programme is due to be rolled out in Burnley in September, with other areas of East Lancashire to follow.

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