Why are lung health checks being offered
There are often no signs or symptoms of lung cancer at an early stage. Lung health checks can help save lives by identifying lung cancer at an earlier stage, even before there are any symptoms, when treatment can be simpler and more successful. Lung health checks can also help diagnose other respiratory issues which again can be treated at an earlier stage.
In west London, 77% of lung cancers diagnosed through lung health checks have been at an early stage, when simple and successful treatment is more likely.
What happens at a lung health check?
The first stage of the lung health check is completed over the telephone with a specialist health advisor. They will ask you a series of questions about your smoking history, lifestyle and current health and wellbeing.
During the telephone call the health advisor will complete two risk assessments based on your answers. Depending on the results, you may be offered an in-person appointment for a low dose CT scan.
What happens if I need a CT scan?
If you are invited to have a CT scan of your lungs, this will be arranged at a time that is convenient for you. The team will talk you through the scan and answer any questions you may have about it.
The CT scan is a quick and painless way for us to see if there are any changes in your lungs. The appointment lasts around 30 minutes and requires you to wear loose clothing or a hospital gown and remove any metal (for example an underwired bra) from around your chest.
During the scan you will lay flat on your back
Your scan will be performed either in a mobile unit or in hospital. Due to Covid-19, your scan will be subject to thorough infection control precautions.
You will receive the results of the chest CT scan within four weeks. Your GP will also receive a copy of these results.
Why haven’t I received an invitation for a lung health check?
To be eligible for our lung health check, you must be:
- Registered with a GP in north west or south west London
- Aged 55-74 when invitation letters are sent out in your area
- A current or former smoker
If you don’t meet these criteria, you will not be invited for an NHS lung health check. If you feel you meet the eligibility criteria and you haven’t received an invitation, there could be several reasons for this:
- Invitations for patients from your practice have not yet been sent out.
- Your smoking status has not been recorded on your GP record; if you think this may be the case, please contact your GP practice. Your practice should be able to update your record, and this may mean that you are invited for a lung health check.
- You are not registered with a GP in north west or south west London, although you may live in one of those areas.
If you feel you are eligible and would like a check but do not live in an area where the programme is currently available, you can refer yourself for an appointment. Please call 020 7351 8607 for more information.