A man with grey hair carries his granddaughter on his back in a park. The words: ""My lung cancer was caught early, before I even had any symptoms." NHS and Targeted Lung Health Check logo

A mobile health clinic will be arriving in Heywood to offer past and current smokers aged 55–74 a free Lung Health Check.

From 2 April a clinic will be housed in a mobile unit at Heywood Sports Village, West Starkey Street, Heywood, offering the checks. It will operate 6 days a week (Monday to Saturday) from 8am to 8pm to ensure that appointments are accessible to everyone who’s invited.

The targeted Lung Health Check truckGP letters will be sent out to smokers and former smokers aged 55-74 years based at doctors’ surgeries in in the Heywood area.

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.

Dr Carolyn Walker, a GP and Primary Care Cancer Lead for Heywood, Middleton and Rochdale, said: “Our Lung Health Checks help the NHS to spot any lung cancer symptoms earlier, when it is much more treatable.

“If you’re registered with a doctor in Heywood and are a smoker or used to smoke, you’ll be sent an invite through the post.

“Please do come along for your appointment. You’ll have a chat with a nurse and fill out a questionnaire to look at your risk. About half of the people who visit may also need a low-dose scan which we will also do on the truck.

“It will most likely offer you some reassurance. But it could save your life!

The Lung Health checks in Heywood are the latest phase of the Greater Manchester Targeted Lung Health Check Programme – a drive to help improve earlier diagnosis of lung cancer and save more lives. The programme is jointly organised by the Greater Manchester Cancer Alliance and Manchester University NHS Foundation Trust. Lung Health Checks will also be coming to Rochdale and Middleton later this year.

Greater Manchester has one of the highest mortality rates for lung cancer in England. The Lung Health Checks are also operating in other parts of Greater Manchester including North Manchester, Salford, Tameside and parts of Wigan. There are further plans to expand the programme in the coming years to ensure that all eligible participants are invited.

So far more than 500 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.

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.

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.

Patients will be contacted by letter by their GP. For more information on the Targeted Lung Health Check programme please visit www.mft.nnhs.uk/lunghealthcheck

If you have concerning symptoms you should speak to your GP who will be able to refer you for tests if needed.

You can read about symptoms of lung cancer here Lung cancer – Symptoms – NHS (www.nhs.uk)