Targeted Lung Health Check Programme
Frequently Asked Questions
These FAQs provide information for healthcare professionals about Targeted Lung Health Checks and help with answering patients' questions.
There are often no signs or symptoms of lung cancer at an early stage. As a result, sadly 7 out of 10 cancer patients are diagnosed too late to be cured. Target lung health checks can help diagnose lung cancer early, at a stage where treatment can be simpler and more successful.
A Targeted Lung Health Check is a two stage process to help assess the health of a patient’s lungs. It begins with a telephone call or meeting where a specialist nurse will ask a series of questions to evaluate the patient’s chances of developing lung cancer. If they are identified as someone who is at an increased risk of developing lung cancer they will be invited for a quick scan to produce a detailed image of the lungs.
Data from the Targeted Lung Health Check Programme so far shows that with these potentially life-saving checks, lung cancer early diagnosis rates can be as high as 80% – compared to less than 30% without this type of intervention – enabling doctors to treat cases sooner, when curative treatment is more possible, saving more lives.
Patients aged 55 to 74 who have ever smoked will be invited to a Lung Health Check, providing their smoking status is correctly recorded in their GP record.
The lung health check comprises of two stages: First a telephone call with a member of the TLHC team who will carry out a brief assessment of the patient’s risk of lung cancer. Secondly, if deemed to be high risk the patient will be invited for a lung health check appointment at either University College Hospital or Finchley Memorial Hospital.
At the lung health check appointment, a health care professional will ask the patient a series of questions about their smoking history, lifestyle and current health and wellbeing and complete a risk assessment based on the answers given by the participant. If the patient meets a certain risk threshold on the risk assessment, they will be offered a low dose CT scan.
The possible outcomes of a CT scan are covered on page 6 of the Patient Information Booklet.
GPs will be informed by letter about clinically actionable findings to be followed up in either primary or secondary care.
There are a number of reasons why a patient might not be offered a
low dose CT scan and these include:
• They’re unable to lie flat
• They’re unable to transfer onto the CT scanning bed without
support, or with the support of somebody who attends the scan
• They weigh more than 200kg/31.5 stones
• They are not physically fit
• They do not have capacity to consent to the CT scan and it is not
in their best interests to have one
CT scans for Targeted Lung Health Checks will take place at University College Hospital and at Finchley Memorial Hospital.
TLHCs are initially being offered in areas of England with the highest lung cancer mortality rates and we are now rolling expanding the checks across the country. See maps below.
Current phase 1 and 2 locations
Phase 3 locations (starting in 2022)
Across all the 43 sites it’s expected that up to 1.5m people will be invited for a check.
NHS England / Improvement’s aim and hope is that Lung Health Checks will be rolled out nationally. There are 23 sites currently live and 20 more launching in 2022.
The CT scan appointment
Yes, this may be possible. Patients should ask the Lung Health Checks team for further information. Contact details will be in their invitation letter.
Patients will need to remove clothes on their top half for the CT scan. They will be given a hospital gown.
The CT scan appointment is explained in the Patient Information Booklet and on the website www.lungchecklondon.org
Yes, support is available for people with additional needs. The Lung Health Checks team will be able to provide further information on the support available.
Invitation letters will be sent to the patient’s registered address that is held by their GP practice.