Around 350 past and current smokers in the Withernsea area have become the first people in the East Riding of Yorkshire to take up the offer of a free NHS Lung Health Check.
A lung health check can help to identify lung cancer and other respiratory diseases early, often before symptoms have occurred and when treatment could be simpler and more successful.
Current and former smokers, aged between 55 and 74, who are registered with Holderness Health or Eastgate Medical Group and live in Withernsea, Grimston, Welwick, Albrough, Fitling, Skeffling, Hilston, Easington, Ottringham, Roos, Winestead, Kilnsea, Flinton, Patrington, Patrington Haven, Weeton, Owstwick, Sunk Island, Tunstall, or Holmpton, are being invited to book a telephone assessment with a respiratory nurse.
Following the assessment, some participants will be invited for a low dose CT scan onboard a high-tech mobile unit, which arrived at Withernsea Leisure Centre on Wednesday, 8th November 2023.
It is expected that 40,000 eligible participants living in the East Riding of Yorkshire will be invited for a lung health check as the mobile unit moves around the region in phases.
Dr Tami Byass, a GP at Eastgate Medical Group in Hornsea, said: “I welcome the news of lung health checks starting to invite eligible patients in the East Riding of Yorkshire.
“Lung cancer can often be difficult to detect in its earliest stages, as there are less noticeable symptoms until stages three or four, so I would urge anyone invited to take up the opportunity of a free lung health check – even if you feel fine.
“If you are worried about symptoms of cancer, such as a cough for three weeks or more, please contact your GP as opposed to waiting for a lung health check invitation.”
Dr Kanwal Tariq, Consultant in Chest Medicine at Hull University Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust said: “Anyone invited for a CT scan as part of their lung health check can be assured that it is a quick and painless procedure, which can help us spot any potential issues early.
“Early detection of lung cancer and other respiratory diseases can make a world of difference in the effectiveness of treatment. The lung health checks could be a lifeline for some people.”
Dr Stuart Baugh, Programme Director for NHS Targeted Lung Health Checks in Humber and North Yorkshire, said: “This service is a vital step towards better outcomes for people at highest risk of respiratory diseases. Not only does it help to provide most people with reassurance that their lungs are currently healthy, but it also supports people to stop smoking, if they wish to do so.
“Quitting smoking is the best way to prevent lung cancer and referrals to stop smoking services by the lung health check service has already provided many people with the support needed to quit.
“The NHS Targeted Lung Health Check programme was first launched in Hull in January 2020, and then in North East Lincolnshire in January 2023. Around 17,500 telephone assessments have been carried out so far, and we look forward to seeing even more people benefit from the service as eligible participants in the East Riding of Yorkshire take up their invitations. It is expected that the service will be available in all parts of Humber and North Yorkshire by 2028/29.”
Find out more about lung health checks in East Yorkshire at www.lunghealthcheck.org.uk.