An advertising campaign has launched in north London to encourage people to take up a free NHS lung health check. These checks are provided by University College London Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust (UCLH) and managed by the North Central London Cancer Alliance. Campaign posters will be on bus shelters in Barnet, Camden, Enfield, Haringey and Islington, selected underground stations and online until the end of November.
Ivan White (pictured), aged 71 from Cockfosters, who had his lung health check earlier this year, is one of the people in the advertising campaign. He said: “I want to stay fit and healthy as long as I can. When my invitation arrived, I didn’t have to think twice. This was a great opportunity to get checked out, and to see if there’s any lasting damage from my smoking all those years ago.”
A lung health check is free, quick and painless. Invitations are sent to people registered with a local GP, aged 55 to 74, who smoke or used to smoke. The letter gives an appointment time when the person will be called by the lung health check team. During the phone call information is gathered about a person’s health and smoking history. Depending on the answers they may or may not be invited to have a follow-up appointment with a nurse and possibly a low dose CT scan at either University College Hospital or Finchley Memorial Hospital. Lung cancer can be treated much more successfully if caught early.
“Improving early diagnosis of cancer for local residents is central to our work and offering lung health checks is an important way to address this,” says Ali Malik, Managing Director of the North Central London Cancer Alliance. “Lung cancer is usually diagnosed late because in the earlier stages there are very often no symptoms. Since starting the programme almost a year ago, 14,000 people have had a lung health check. But we can help a lot more and we hope our advertising campaign will boost responses to the lung health check invitation letter.”
As well as the advertising campaign, local community and voluntary sector organisations are being asked to help spread the word about having the check by sharing information with their networks and neighbourhoods and by organising events where the lung health checks can be explained and discussed.
Find out more about having a lung health check.