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Our role in Lung Health Checks

Early detection of lung cancer has been at the core of our charity since it was founded 1990. We are in full support of lung health checks and are working with NHS England, as well as a number of individual programmes to ensure as many people as possible take up the opportunity if invited.

Liverpool Lung Health Check

In 2019, we began working with the Liverpool Lung Health Check, formerly the Liverpool Healthy Lung Programme, to increase the number of people attending a lung health check in the city.

(from left to right: Stephen Taylor – CT clinical lead, Michelle Woods – operational lead nurse, Darren McGuinness – programme manager, Michele McMahon – lung health check nurse, Rachel Avery – Director of Marketing, Roy Castle Lung Cancer Foundation)

The Liverpool Lung Health Check launched in 2016 and is one of the country’s pioneering programmes. Between 2016 and 2020, over 17,000 people have attended a lung health check appointment in Liverpool, with nearly 7,000 people having a CT scan. It has diagnosed over 125 cases of lung cancer, as well as other cancers and respiratory conditions, such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and asthma. Significantly, 72% of those diagnosed with lung cancer were at early stage and offered curative-intent treatment.

The programme has been incredibly successful. However, with average uptake around 40%, it recognised it could save even more lives and approached the charity to help.

One of the biggest challenges we face in relation to the lung health checks is uptake, with average uptake remaining around 40% of the total invited population.  In 2019, Liverpool CCG commissioned Roy Castle Lung Cancer Foundation to improve the communications and engagement approach for the programme. Together, we can save more lives.”

Rachel Arvanitis, NHS Liverpool Clinical Commissioning Group

Since then, we have supported the Liverpool lung health check in a number of ways including:

  • Coordinating and hosting community engagement events to raise aware of the programme within the city
  • Developing a series of videos aimed at reassuring and encouraging those eligible to attend a lung health check
  • Media liaison to promote the programme throughout the city
  • Development and execution of regionalised outdoor advertising
  • Targeted social media adverts to maximise awareness of the programme and encourage attendance.

Nottingham Lung Health Check pilot

Prior to the rollout of targeted lung health checks by NHS England, we funded a Lung Health MOT check in Nottingham in 2017 and 2018 to identify potential lung cancer patients before any symptoms appear.

Our pilot programme launched in Bulwell, Nottingham in January 2017. Patients in five Bulwell practices aged between 60 and 75 with a history of smoking were invited to attend a lung health check appointment by their GP. During the health check, patients were assessed. Any high risk patients were offered a low dose CT (LDCT) scan. The scan then identified if the patient has any nodules on their lungs.

In 2018, we funded a second stage of the pilot where we rolled out our lung health check to a population of 36,000 people.

The programme has diagnosed 11 cases of lung cancer, 64% of which were at early stage and patients were offered curative intent treatment. One of those people was Bill Simpson.

In a number of cases, CT scans revealed patients to have small nodules on their lungs. At the time, these nodules were not malignant. However, patients were put on surveillance and underwent interval CT scanning to monitor any growth or change. To date, two people have since gone on to be diagnosed with early stage lung cancer, whilst 10 remain on surveillance.

Our lung health check provided further evidence that CT screening for lung cancer works. Following the success of our pilot programme, we launched the Lets Roll campaign, calling for the implementation of lung health checks or lung cancer screening to be rolled out across the UK.

Mansfield and Ashfield Lung Health Check

Having successfully partnered on our Nottingham lung health check pilot, we went on to support the team with its Mansfield and Ashfield programme.

We produced a number of assets for the team to use within its promotion and marketing of its lung health check including video content and a promotional pack for GPs to highlight the programme to its patients.

The programme has had an initial uptake rate of 68%.

Halton and Knowsley Lung Health Checks

Building on the successful of our partnership with Liverpool Lung Health Check, we are now working with Halton and Knowsley programmes. We will develop community engagement and marketing plans, create and execute a series of marketing tools to promote the programmes across the two regions.

Community Engagement

We have hosted a number of community engagement events across England to raise awareness of lung health checks within the communities.

Community engagement events are at incredibly valuable tool to increase attendance of lung health checks. They offer those eligible to ask any questions they may have about the programme, as well as overcome any fears or misconceptions of the checks which may have stopped them from attending.

Advice and Expertise

In 2019, we were asked to speak at the inaugural Lung Health Check meeting, sharing learnings from our Nottingham lung health check pilot, our understanding of lung cancer patients and our experience in marketing such programmes.

Since then, we have presented at subsequent meetings including a recent virtual event where our Director of Marketing and Communications, Rachel Avery, hosted a workshop aimed at maximising participant uptake. This prompted several follow up calls with specific lung health check programmes who were encountering difficulties with uptake, particularly amongst minority communities.