Residents in Runcorn have the chance to have a free lung check without needing to go to hospital when the mobile CT van returns to the region this summer.
Part of NHS England’s Targeted Lung Health Check programme, the CT truck has been travelling around Halton, Knowsley and Liverpool offering people aged 55-74 who have ever smoked a lung check to make sure everything is ok.
Many residents have already taken up the opportunity when it visited Widnes earlier this year, and Runcorn last December. Eligible patients registered at either Tower House or Grove House Practices are now starting to receive their invitations.
Dr Mithun Murthy, Respiratory Clinical Lead and Lung Cancer Lead for Warrington and Halton Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, urges all those invited to make an appointment:
“This is a wonderful opportunity for local people to have their lungs checked and make sure everything is ok. For the majority of those who attend, everything will be fine, while those that do find something wrong, catching it early can make all the difference.”
Hundreds of people have already been diagnosed with lung cancer earlier through NHS mobile trucks and more than three quarters (77%) of cancers have been caught at either stage one or two, giving patients a much better chance of beating the illness. People diagnosed with lung cancer at the earliest stage are nearly 20 times more likely to survive for five years than those whose cancer is caught late.
However, despite the clear benefits of the programme, only 33% of those invited in Widnes and Runcorn have gone for a lung health check so far.
“We are hearing fantastic feedback from people who have been for their lung check,” continues Dr Murthy. “Those that get the all-clear feel very reassured and those that do receive a diagnosis are receiving treatment far faster than they may have done otherwise.
“This is why we want everyone who is invited to take up the opportunity and make an appointment. Chances are you will not have any symptoms when you receive your invitation, but this should not stop you making an appointment. You should have the check whether you feel fine or not.
The main aim of these checks is to find cancer at the earliest opportunity before there may even be any symptoms, so just as you would go for a breast screening or send off your bowel screening kit, we now want you to have your lungs checked.”
Gordon Darnell and his wife, Muriel were both invited for a lung check late last year. At the time, Gordon felt better than he had done for many years and had no symptoms. However, on Christmas Eve he was told he had lung cancer.
“It’s not the kind of news you want to hear the day before Christmas but, when I was told it was lung cancer, they also explained that it was stage one and the earliest stage of stage one. That relaxed me immediately because, when it comes to cancer, it doesn’t get any better than that.”
Within a month, Gordon had had surgery to remove the cancer and within days was back home. Two months after his surgery, he went on holiday to Spain and is now fully recovered. He is now urging others to have a check if they have the opportunity:
“I was never ill – not before my diagnosis, not during treatment and not now and that’s because they picked it up so early. I almost feel like a fraud speaking to people who’ve got cancer or had cancer because I didn’t experience anything like they have and that’s all down to going for that lung check.
“We’re talking an hour out of your day. If you go and there’s nothing wrong, you haven’t lost anything but if there is something wrong, you’ve got to deal with it as quickly as possible. I truly believe it has saved my life.”
Targeted lung health checks are available to people in Halton aged 55-74 who have ever most and are registered with a local GP. If you are eligible, you will receive an invitation through the post inviting you to make an appointment.
For more information, visit www.lhch.nhs.uk/lung-health-check/