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Life-saving lung check programme returns to Knowsley

Residents in parts of Knowsley have the chance to have a free lung check without needing to go to hospital, when the mobile Computerised Tomography (CT) van returns to the region this summer.

Part of NHS England’s Targeted Lung Health Check programme, the CT truck has been travelling around Knowsley, Halton and Liverpool offering people aged 55-74, who have ever smoked, a lung check to make sure everything is ok.

Eligible patients registered at a GP practice in Roby, Prescot, St Michaels, St Gabriel’s and Swanside are now starting to receive their invitation to join the many residents who have already taken up the opportunity, when the mobile CT scanner visited Kirkby, Stockbridge and Page Moss as part of this programme.

Dr Paul Morris, Knowsley Cancer Lead and GP, urges all those invited to make an appointment:

“This is a wonderful opportunity for local people to have their lungs checked and make sure everything is working ok. For the majority of those who attend, everything will be fine, while for those that do find something wrong, catching it early can make all the difference.”

Hundreds of people have been diagnosed with lung cancer earlier through NHS mobile trucks, and more than three quarters (77%) of cancers have been caught early, giving patients a much better chance of beating the illness.

However, despite the clear benefits of attending a lung health check, only 38% of those invited in Knowsley have taken up the offer so far.

“We are hearing fantastic feedback from people who have been for their lung check,” continues Dr Morris. “Those that get the all-clear feel very reassured, and those that do receive a diagnosis of a lung condition are receiving treatment far faster than they may have done otherwise.

“This is why we want everyone who gets an invite letter to take up the opportunity and make an appointment. Chances are you will not have any symptoms when you receive your invitation, but this should not stop you making an appointment. You should have the check whether you feel fine or not.

“The main aim of these checks is to find cancer at the earliest opportunity before there may even be any symptoms. Just as you would go for a breast screening or send off your bowel screening kit, we now want you to have your lungs checked too.”

Gordon Darnell and his wife, Muriel from Croxteth, were both invited for a lung check late last year. At the time, Gordon felt better than he had done for many years and had no symptoms. However, on Christmas Eve he was told he had lung cancer.

Gordon Darnell pictured stood on a beach“It’s not the kind of news you want to hear the day before Christmas, but when I was told it was lung cancer, they also explained that it was the earliest stage of stage one. That relaxed me immediately because, when it comes to cancer, it doesn't get any better than finding it that early.”

Within a month, Gordon had had surgery to remove the cancer from his lung and within days he was back home. Two months after his surgery, he was well enough to go  on holiday to Spain, and is now fully recovered. He is now urging others to have a check if they have the opportunity:

“I was never ill – not before my diagnosis, not during treatment, and not now - and that’s because they picked it up so early. I almost feel like a fraud speaking to people who've got cancer or had cancer because I didn't experience anything like they have, and that’s all down to going for that lung check.

“We’re talking an hour out of your day. If you go and there’s nothing wrong, you haven’t lost anything, but if there is something wrong, you’ll be able to deal with it as quickly as possible. I truly believe it has saved my life.”

Targeted lung health checks are available to people in Knowsley aged 55-74 who have ever smoked, and are registered with a local GP. If you are eligible, you will receive an invitation through the post inviting you to make an appointment.

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