Targeted Lung Health Check Programme
Supporting earlier diagnosis of lung cancer
North Central London Cancer Alliance began offering Targeted Lung Health Checks (TLHC) in autumn 2022, to support the early detection and treatment of lung cancer. Checks will be offered to local residents between the ages of 55 and 74 who are current or former smokers.
The TLHC Programme is currently being rolled out in certain parts of England. Initially it was offered in areas with the highest lung cancer mortality rates. It is expected to be available nationally by 2025-26. Click here for current TLHC areas.
Invitation letters will be sent out by University College London Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust (UCLH), after relevant patient data has been collected from each GP practice.
The lung health check comprises of two stages: First a telephone call with a health professional who will carry out a brief assessment of the participant’s risk of lung cancer. Secondly, if deemed to be high risk the participant will be invited for a lung health check and low dose chest CT scan. The TLHC service will organise this, as required.
The sites for attending a lung health check and CT scan appointment will be University College Hospital and Finchley Memorial Hospital.
Information for those eligible for a check is available here.
Why are lung health checks important?
- Lung cancer can go undetected during its early stages, as there are often no signs or symptoms.
- Less than 20% of people diagnosed with lung cancer survive for five years or more.
- TLHCs help detect cancer at an earlier stage, when curative treatment is more possible.
- To date, 80% of lung cancers found by the TLHC programme have been at stage 1 or stage 2, compared to 30% without this kind of intervention.
How can primary care professionals support the TLHC programme?
We need help to raise awareness of the programme and educate the public on the importance of detecting lung cancer early.
Across England TLHC uptake rates are currently low, with an average of 35% of people taking up their invitation for a lung health check.
Data collected from the programme’s non-attendee survey shows the most common reason given for non-attendance is that people wrongly thought they had been invited by mistake.
GPs and practice staff can:
- Have opportunistic discussions with patients who are eligible for the TLHC programme, to help them make an informed decision about attending an appointment when invited.
- Code the smoking status of patients if not already done, as a correct smoking status is key for invitations to be sent out to eligible patients.
- Direct those eligible for a check to find out more about TLHC on our public-facing website and handing out the participant booklet.
- Put up posters and information leaflets in your practice, when they are sent to you, to help raise awareness of the programme.
- Play the animation video and case studies on your waiting room screens.
- Provide the public with the relevant information if you receive calls with questions (see FAQs).