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What are lung health checks?

NHS England has confirmed it is to invest in 14 targeted lung health checks across England to improve the early detection of lung cancer and other respiratory disease.

Bill attended a lung health check and had his lung cancer diagnosed early
Bill attended a lung health check and had his lung cancer diagnosed early

People in the selected areas who are aged 55 to 74 with a smoking history (current smoker or ex-smoker) will be invited to attend a lung health check by their GP.

The health check will be conducted by a lung specialist nurse and will involve discussion around lung cancer symptoms, a breathing test (spirometry) and smoking cessation advice (where appropriate). The results of this will then be used to calculate a person’s individual lung cancer risk. Anyone at high risk of lung cancer will be invited to have a low-dose CT scan.

Where are the lung health checks?

There are 14 lung health checks announced. They are in the following locations:

I live in one of these areas. What do I need to do now?

If you live in one of the selected areas and are eligible for a lung health check, your GP practice will be in touch to arrange a date for your health check.

I don’t live in one of these areas. Can I still have a lung health check?

Currently, NHS England is investing in 14 lung health check pilots. There are also other independently funded programmes in other parts of the UK including Nottingham, Leeds, Manchester and London.

If you aren’t in any of these areas but have concerns about your lung health, you should go and see your doctor as soon as possible. It is also essential you are aware of the signs and symptoms of lung cancer.

If you are experiencing any of these, you should make an appointment to see your GP immediately.

My doctor has invited me a lung health check but I’m really nervous.

We understand attending a lung health check can be a scary thing. However, if you do have lung cancer, it is better to find out as early as possible when curative treatment may be an option.

It is important that you make an informed decision and so we have produced a short, helpful video to answer the question – Is Lung Cancer Screening right for you?

Why are these health checks only available to people who smoke or have smoked?

Your risk of lung cancer is significantly increased if you smoke. Approximately, 85% of people with lung cancer have smoked. However, if you have lungs, you can get lung cancer so it is vital that everyone understands and recognises the signs and symptoms of lung cancer.

I’m under 55. Can I have a lung health check?

Under the current plans, lung health checks are available to people aged 55 to 74 with a smoking history. This is because your risk of lung cancer increases as you get older. The average age of a lung cancer patient is 72.

However, lung cancer can affect anyone, of any age and so if you have any concerns or are experiencing potential lung cancer symptoms, please go to your doctor.

Our ongoing to commitment to early detection

We recognise, whilst a significant step forward to improve the early detection of lung cancer, lung health checks will not benefit everyone.

As the only UK’s lung cancer charity, we remain committed to finding early detection techniques which can benefit everyone.