NHS chiefs are appealing to people to take up invitations for lung cancer screening after hundreds were diagnosed with the disease in mobile trucks.
The NHS said teams had diagnosed 600 people with the disease in travel trucks, which visited convenient community sites across the UK, such as supermarkets and sports centers, with the aim of making it easier for people to access examinations.
Lady Cally Palmer, NHS Cancer Director, said: “These lung examinations can save lives – by going out to communities we find more people who might not otherwise have realized they have lung cancer – with hundreds already diagnosed and hundreds of thousands should be invited. ”
“The trucks are conveniently located to make them easily accessible and it is essential that as soon as you are invited, you accept the offer and come forward for these potentially life-saving checks.
“The launch of our targeted lung health research program is a major step in achieving our NHS long-term plan ambitions to tackle thousands more cancers at an earlier stage when they are easier to treat.”
This is because new figures show that only a third (35%) of patients go to their lung health examination when invited by the NHS.
The NHS said those most at risk for lung cancer, such as former or current smokers, are invited for a “Long MOT” in the mobile trucks. Those at greatest risk will also receive a breast scan on the spot.
The trucks travel mainly to areas of the country with some of the highest mortality rates due to lung cancer.
The teams also identified thousands of people with other undiagnosed conditions, including respiratory and cardiovascular disease, enabling them to access the treatment they need earlier.
The community initiative, which is part of the NHS-targeted lung health research program, has seen more than three-quarters (77%) of cancers contract at one stage or another, giving patients a much better chance of overcoming the disease.
That compares with less than a third of cancers contracted at either stage one or two in 2018.
The health service said so far, 23 existing truck sites have issued up to 25,000 invitations each month.
A further 20 NHS lung truck sites will soon be put in place with the capability to invite 750,000 more people at greater risk for a check, in an effort to tackle thousands more cancers at an earlier stage.
Professor Peter Johnson, NHS’s clinical director for cancer, said: “Lung cancer can often be difficult to detect at an early stage and so these checks, near people’s homes, show how the NHS acts to help more people with cancer. find.
“Lives are saved when cancers are detected early and when more people are referred for tests, which is why the NHS has put so much effort into early diagnosis in recent years.
“We know some people were worried about seeking help during the pandemic, but if you do have a worrying symptom or have been coughing for three weeks or more, please contact your GP and be examined.”
The NHS estimates that 7,700 cases will be detected earlier by 2024-2025 after as many as 1.5 million people were invited for a lung health examination.