Picture of staff outside the unit in Ashton
Dr Ashwin Ramachandra and team outside the unit in Ashton

Past and current smokers in Tameside are being invited to an NHS lung health check in a drive to improve earlier diagnosis of lung cancer and save more lives.

Lung health checks are now taking place in Hyde as part of a campaign targeting eligible residents who have previously smoked.

The mobile scanning unit has now moved to Asda car park in Hyde (Greenfield Street, Hyde, SK14 1BD) providing quick and easy lung checks.

Past and current smokers 55-74-years-old will receive an invitation from their GP in a drive to improve earlier diagnosis of lung cancer and save more lives.

Tameside has one of the highest rates for lung cancer in England; the area is one of 43 places across the country to run the Targeted Lung Health Check (TLHC) programme.

GP letters are being sent to households as part of the screening project, jointly organised by Tameside Council, NHS Greater Manchester Integrated Care and Manchester University NHS Foundation Trust.

Through the initiative. over 58,000 people aged from 55 to 74 in the area will be invited to a lung health check by their GP, and over 65% will be eligible for an appointment based on their smoking history. Over the two years the campaign is running it will identify an estimated 400 cases of lung cancer earlier than otherwise would have been possible.

The lung health check takes place as a ‘one-stop shop’. An initial nurse led assessment will explore a person’s smoking status, chest symptoms, and risk of lung cancer. Those considered to be at high risk will be offered an immediate ultra-low dose CT scan of the chest.

Checks are taking place over a two-year period and patients are being contacted in groups depending on which GP practice they are registered with. The current set of patients to receive these letters are from Ashton Medical, Gordon Street Medical Practice, Albion Medical Practice, Stamford House Surgery, HT Practice, West End Medical Practice, Donneybrook Medical Centre, Hattersley Medical Centre and Waterloo Medical Centre.

Lung cancer can often be diagnosed too late to be cured as there are rarely symptoms at the earlier stages. This 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 national TLHC programme estimates it will diagnose around 6,000 cancers earlier than would otherwise have been picked up within the areas where the scheme is running. The initiative offers the opportunity for a higher number of earlier interventions to be made, including curative surgery, which will save people’s lives. Stop smoking advice will also be available to support current smokers.

Councillor Eleanor Wills, Tameside Council executive member for health, said:

“I’m delighted with the continued success of the lung health check programme as it moves through our borough. Through this initiative, we’re providing an effective way to increase lung cancer survival in the area by scanning in communities and catching it earlier.

“If you live in Hyde and receive an invitation to a lung health check from your GP, please get in touch with the bookings team as soon as possible.”

Dr Ashwin Ramachandra, interim strategic clinical lead for Tameside Integrated Care Partnership, said:

“I’m pleased we’re able to offer this ground-breaking service to help support the early detection of lung cancer and save lives. Please do take up the offer of attending a check-up if you’re invited.”

The TLHC programme follows the success of the Manchester Lung Health Check programme first launched in March 2019 by Wythenshawe Hospital, part of Manchester University NHS Foundation Trust.

The team at Wythenshawe Hospital continue to oversee delivery of the TLHC programme in Tameside, aiming for the same success with this project.

Professor Richard Booton, clinical director of lung cancer and thoracic surgery at Wythenshawe Hospital said:

“We’re very pleased to be supporting Tameside Council on this project following the success of our pioneering scheme in Manchester. These targeted lung health checks will save lives, not just by finding cancers earlier, but also in identifying a range of other health conditions such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and cardiovascular disease, that collectively drive health inequality across Greater Manchester.”

For more information on the Targeted Lung Health Check programme please call 0161 529 0900.


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