Former and current smokers in Hull invited for NHS lung check amid high cancer rates

Past and current smokers in Hull are being invited to a free NHS lung health check to improve earlier diagnosis of lung cancer.

The East Riding of Yorkshire city has one of the highest mortality rates for lung cancer in England and is part of the NHS Targeted Lung Health Check programme.

32,000 past and current smokers will be invited to a lung check by their GP over the next 9 months, with the first stage being done over the phone and the second being a low dose CT scan of the lungs if the person is deemed to be "high-risk".

Officials believe that the checks could identify over 300 cases of cancer earlier than they would have been otherwise.

The screenings will be run from a mobile unit that will be taken to different accessible areas in the city.

The mobile testing unit will move around the city. Credit: NHS East Riding of Yorkshire

Dr Stuart Baugh, Programme Director for the Lung Health Check programme in Hull, said: "Lung Health Checks can bring huge benefits in diagnosing a range of illness, not just lung cancer, but also emphysema, bronchitis and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) at a much earlier and more treatable stage.

"The Hull lung health check service first launched in January 2020 and ran for five weeks before being paused due to the coronavirus pandemic. During that time, the service welcomed over 900 participants, helped to identify a number of cancers at an early stage and referred over 100 participants to local stop smoking services."

Christine and Danny Whisby, from West Hull, had the screening in early 2020 - the scan picked up something on Danny's lung and within days he had a cancer diagnosis.

Christine said: "He had no symptoms, other than a cough, which we naturally put down to smoking, and we were shocked to find out the growth was really large.

We were so lucky, the lung health check caught it just in time and the amazing cancer team at Castle Hill Hospital were able to operate and remove the cancer without the need for chemo or radiotherapy.

"Danny is now completely cancer-free, but if it wasn't for the lung health check, he simply wouldn't be here today. We are so grateful to the amazing team who saved my husband's life and would urge anyone who is invited to take up the offer."

More information on the Target Lung Health check can be found here.

The symptoms of Lung cancer can be:

  • A cough that doesn’t go away after 2 or 3 weeks

  • A long-standing cough that gets worse

  • Chest infections

  • Coughing up blood

  • an ache or pain when breathing or coughing

  • Persistent breathlessness

  • Persistent tiredness or lack of energy

  • Loss of appetite or unexplained weight loss

Source: NHS