Past and current smokers are being invited for a free NHS lung health check in a bid to improve earlier diagnosis of lung conditions, including cancer.

With one of the highest mortality rates for lung cancer in west London, Sutton is one of 23 places across the country to run the Targeted Lung Health Check programme.

This new initiative means more than 17,000 past and current smokers aged 55 to 74 in Sutton will be invited to a lung health check.

The lung health check takes place in two stages:

  • The first is an initial phone assessment with a specially trained respiratory nurse. If the assessment finds the person to be at high risk, they are offered a low dose CT scan of the lungs for further investigation.
  • Depending on the outcome, Sutton patients will be invited to a mobile scanner based in the Tesco car park in Cheam for a low dose CT scan.

If patients need further assessment or treatment following their scan, they will be referred on to local services such as Epsom-St Helier Hospitals or The Royal Marsden NHS Foundation Trust in Sutton.

Your Local Guardian:

Dr Vinesh Patel, local GP and GP clinical lead for Cancer in Sutton said: "The aim is to pick up lung cancers, and other lung-related health problems at an earlier stage, with better outcomes for our patients needing treatment.

"The outcomes from this project will also be able to help shape the future of the National Targeted Screening programmes which will be rolled out over the coming years."

Dr Richard Lee, Consultant Respiratory Physician at The Royal Marsden and Joint Clinical Lead for the Lung Health Check Programme said: “The roll out of the Targeted Lung Health Checks project in Sutton is an exciting step towards accelerating early diagnosis and improving outcomes for patients.

"When cancer is caught sooner, we have a much better chance of being able to treat it successfully, often with less invasive procedures and fewer long-term side effects.

"It’s thanks to great team work and a collaborative effort across a number of national and regional partners that we’re able to mark this milestone, which will ultimately help us save more lives.

The mobile unit will be available for two weeks a month until September 2022.

For more information visit here.