Published on: 13 March 2023
From March 2023, people in Barnsley aged 55 to 74 who smoke or used to smoke and are registered with a Barnsley GP will be invited by letter for a free NHS Lung Health Check.
The Targeted Lung Health Check programme will make its way to different neighbourhoods across the borough to identify any lung problems early, enabling earlier cancer diagnoses, and improving lung cancer survival rates.
Dr Sahar Awadallah, Barnsley Cancer Lead, said: “Local GPs, including me, are urging those invited to utilise this free screening service, as problems could start before a person notices anything of concern.
“Lung cancer often has no or few symptoms until a much later stage, so, if it is caught earlier, treatment could be more successful. Screening saves lives.”
A Targeted Lung Health Check is a two-stage process in which lung health is assessed. A quick, initial phone call will take place to make sure the person is eligible for the programme, and then a respiratory nurse will conduct an assessment with the person over the phone.
If identified as someone with a higher chance of developing lung cancer, they will be invited to have a scan that will take a detailed image of their chest and, if a problem is found, they will be referred for treatment.
Not everyone will need a scan, but those that do will be invited to a mobile scanning unit in a convenient location in their local community. The mobile scanning units will be visiting the Dearne from March and will move to different sites across Barnsley until March 2024.
The programme is already operating in Rotherham and Doncaster. In Doncaster, nearly 18,000 Lung Health Checks and close to 10,000 initial low-dose computed tomography (LDCT) scans have been completed. As a result, 193 cancers have been confirmed, 148 of which were lung cancers. An impressive 75% were caught at an early stage with 74% of these patients suitable for curative treatment.
Dr Jason Page, Clinical Director South Yorkshire and Bassetlaw Lung Health Checks, said: “We are thrilled to be able to expand Targeted Lung Health Checks into Barnsley.
“The success of the programme in Doncaster has undoubtedly saved lives, and now we are able to start the work in Barnsley with the intention of saving more.
“We want to stress the importance of keeping your appointment when you are invited. If you have received an invite, it is due to your increased risk of developing lung cancer or having other lung conditions, and this is an opportunity to get an early diagnosis and have a much better chance of survival.”
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