People living in the Dewsbury and Mirfield areas of North Kirklees are being targeted as part of a programme which is saving lives through early lung cancer diagnosis.
Those aged 55 – 74 who smoke or have ever smoked are being invited to get their lung health checked for signs of cancer. Detecting the disease early means it can often be treated more successfully.
The initial check takes place over the phone and lasts around 20 minutes. If any issues are found, people will be offered a CT scan at a mobile unit located in the Sainsbury’s superstore car park in Dewsbury town centre.
The mobile CT scanner visited Cleckheaton and Batley before arriving at its current location in Dewsbury this month.
So far around 14,000 people have been invited for a lung health check in North Kirklees and more than 3,000 have attended for CT scan. The programme has already resulted in 70 suspected lung cancers being detected.
Dr Khalid Naeem, a local GP and Chair of Kirklees Clinical and Professional Forum, said, ‘Lung health checks have a vital role to play in the fight against cancer. They can help find problems early, often before you notice anything is wrong, and at a stage when treatment could be simpler and more successful.
‘Most lung cancers grow slowly enough for them to be found at an early stage by a lung scan – so this programme will ultimately save more lives.’
Programme lead for the NHS in Kirklees, Marion Redford, said, ‘Even if you feel fit and well, or gave up smoking years ago, it’s important that you attend a lung health check when you’re invited. Lung cancer is the most common cancer in West Yorkshire and is directly related to smoking and tobacco use. There are often no signs or symptoms of lung cancer at an early stage. As a result, sadly around 7 in 10 cancer patients are currently being diagnosed too late to be cured.’
She added, ‘We’ve done everything possible to make the health checks as convenient as possible. The initial appointment is by telephone and people who need a CT scan will be invited to attend the mobile scanner in Dewsbury rather than having to visit a hospital.’
North Kirklees is one of 23 Lung Health Check pilot sites which are contributing towards reaching the NHS Long Term Plan ambitions of catching thousands more cancers at an earlier stage when they are easier to treat.
The programme is supported by the West Yorkshire and Harrogate Cancer Alliance and has been funded by NHS England as part of a national pilot designed to improve early diagnosis and treatment of cancer.
North Kirklees GP federation, CURO Health, are delivering the Targeted Lung Health Check Programme in Kirklees. In total, there are around 19,000 people in North Kirklees who are eligible for a health check.
You can find more information about the North Kirklees targeted lung health check programme on the dedicated website at www.lunghealthcheckaware.co.uk