The Peninsula Cancer Alliance launched the programme as part of a national pilot last August inviting anyone who has ever smoked between the ages of 55 and 74 years.This week – less than a year since the programme launched – the team will mark a milestone when the 6,000th person attends their scan.
The scans aim to pick up small lung tumours before they start to cause symptoms as lung cancers detected at an early stage can be treated and cured. Most tumours diagnosed within the Targeted Lung Health Check Programme will be surgically removed or treated with radiotherapy.
So far our Targeted Lung Health Checks have detected 45 lung cancers, of which 75% were at an early stage.
Cyrus Daneshvar, of the Peninsula Cancer Alliance and consultant in respiratory medicine at University Hospitals Plymouth NHS Trust, said: “The Targeted Lung Health Check Programme is saving lives. Many people do not develop symptoms from lung cancer until much later in the disease, and even then some may remain symptom free even in the later stages. If you are invited for a lung health check I would encourage you to take up the offer. Most people reflect that the screening experience is straightforward, and the staff are extremely helpful. If you have a partner or relative who is invited, then encourage them to attend as it can be lifesaving for those we do detect an early cancer.”
For some smokers attending a lung check has also been what they’ve needed to help them to quit their nicotine habit.
With support from Cornwall Council’s Healthy Cornwall Home – Healthy Cornwall smoking cessation team 83 smokers who attended the Targeted Lung Health Check Programme, have successfully quit four weeks into the course.
BBC Spotlight joined us on site this week and filmed a focus piece explaining more about the programme below.