A scanner and clinic will be housed in a mobile unit at The Wythenshawe Forum, Centre Forum Square, Benchill M22 5RX . Initially it is set to run for a few weeks each month from January 2024 to March 2024. Then from April it will run full-time until the summer and open up to all GP practices in the Wythenshawe Primary Care Network. The service will operate 6 days a week from 8am to 8pm to ensure that appointments are accessible to everyone who’s invited.
GP letters will be sent out to smokers and former smokers aged 55-74 years in the relevant areas of Wythenshawe as the service rolls out.
Greater Manchester has one of the highest mortality rates for lung cancer in England. The Lung Health Checks have already been operating in some parts of Greater Manchester – including North Manchester, Salford, Tameside and Wigan. There are further plans to expand the programme in the coming years to ensure that all eligible participants are invited.
Patients who are invited for a lung health check will firstly talk to specialist nurse where they will answer some health and lifestyle questions which will determine whether they are ‘high’ or ‘low’ risk. If deemed high risk, they will be offered a low-dose computed tomography (CT) scan of their lungs for further investigation on the same day and be enrolled into the programme.
Most visitors to the Lung Health Checks will get reassurance that everything is OK or be referred to get help to stop smoking.
So far 450 patients have been diagnosed with lung cancer as a result of the Lung Health Checks in Greater Manchester, however, almost 80% of these patients were diagnosed at stage 1 or 2 meaning they were more likely to be eligible for curative treatment.
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.
Dr Rachel Murphy of Cornishway Practice said: “It is very important to take up your invitation for a lung health check – it really can help to save lives.
“The survival rate for lung cancer significantly increases if it’s caught in the early stages and through our approach to these targeted lung health checks we will be contacting residents most at risk.”
Lung cancer can often be caught too late as there are rarely symptoms at the earlier stages. The programme is designed to check those most at risk of developing lung cancer in order to spot signs earlier, at the stage when it’s much more treatable and ultimately saving more lives.
Professor Richard Booton, Clinical Lead for Lung Cancer at Wythenshawe Hospital part of MFT and Programme Director for the Greater Manchester Targeted Lung Health Check programme, said: “The targeted Lung Health Check programme is revolutionary for finding cancers earlier. By bringing the scanner directly into the community – like we are doing in Wythenshawe – the scheme can directly contact those at most risk and intervene when the cancer is at its most treatable.”
Alison Jones, Director of Cancer Commissioning and Early Diagnosis at Greater Manchester Cancer Alliance, said: “So many people have already benefitted from having a targeted lung health check and we look forward to expanding this service to Wythenshawe so that more people can benefit. We want to find cancer at the earliest stages when chances of successful treatment are more likely.”
The Department for Health and Social Care has predicted that rolling out screening to high-risk 55 to 74 year olds will save lives by detecting up to 9,000 lung cancers a year at an early stage across England.
The Wythenshawe Targeted Lung Health Checks will initially focus on three Primary Care Networks before moving on to a wider number from April.