NHS issues warning to anyone who has ever smoked

NHS issues warning to anyone who has ever smoked

The NHS has issued an urgent warning to anyone who smokes or has ever smoked. It has said that the message could save lives, and that it is vital that people pay attention to it.

Medics are urging people to climb aboard mobile trucks being sent out to carry lung checks which have already meant that 600 people have being given the best chance of survival after the disease was picked up early.

They are visiting community sites across the UK such as supermarkets and sports centres. The aim is to make it easier for people to get access to check-ups.

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It comes as new figures show only just over a third (35%) of patients go to their lung health check when invited by the NHS.

The NHS said those most at risk of lung cancer, like former or current smokers, are invited for a “Lung MOT”. Those who are highest at risk will also be given an on-the-spot chest scan. The trucks are especially traveling to areas of the country with some of the highest death rates from lung cancer including Stoke-on-Trent.

Ruth Barwick, 72, from Stoke-on-Trent, was invited via her GP to attend a targeted lung health check last year, where they identified an aneurysm on the lung. She said: “I knew I had been feeling ill, but I was just getting on with it. I wouldn’t have known or had the chance to still be here if it wasn’t for the lung health check, so I am so pleased I went to be checked when invited.

“The lung health check hardly takes any time. The hardest part for some people is turning up, but I assure you there’s nothing to be frightened about and they will talk you through everything.”

Ruth Barwick, 72, from Stoke-on-Trent, was invited via her GP to attend a targeted lung health check last year

The teams have also identified thousands of people with other undiagnosed conditions including respiratory and cardiovascular disease, enabling them to access the treatment they need earlier. The community initiative, which is part of the NHS Targeted Lung Health Check Programme, has seen more than three quarters (77%) of cancers caught at either stage one or two, giving patients a much better chance of beating the illness.

This compares to less than a third of cancers caught at either stage one or two in 2018. The health service said so far, 23 existing truck sites have issued up to 25,000 invitations every month.

A further 20 NHS lung truck sites are due to go live shortly with the capacity to invite 750,000 more people at increased risk for a check, in an effort to catch thousands more cancers at an earlier stage. The NHS estimates that 7,700 cases will be caught earlier by 2024-25 after as many as 1.5 million people will have been invited for a lung health check.

Smokers and former smokers are invited to get themselves checked out

Dame Cally Palmer, NHS cancer director, said: “These lung checks can save lives – by going out into communities we find more people who may not have otherwise realized they have lung cancer – with hundreds already diagnosed and hundreds of thousands due to be invited .”

“The trucks are conveniently located to make them easy to access and it is vital that as soon as you are invited, you take up the offer and come forward for these potentially life-saving checks.

“The rollout of our Targeted Lung Health Check Program is a huge step towards reaching our NHS Long Term Plan ambitions of catching thousands more cancers at an earlier stage when they are easier to treat.”

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