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Mobile scanning truck to help early detection of lung disease in Nottingham

A Nottingham health scheme that aims to catch lung disease early by scanning patients is being rolled out across Aspley and Strelley this month.

Over 1200 people have recently been invited to ‘Lung Health MOTs’ at nine local GP surgeries in parts of Aspley as well as Strelley. The consultation is offered to people aged between 60 and 75 with a history of smoking.

The project, which is supported by Roy Castle Lung Cancer Foundation, offers patients a lung health check that can spot problems early, often before they notice anything, when treatment could be simpler and more successful. 

For most people the 45 minute check-up will be enough to confirm they are cancer free as well as get helpful advice about how to maintain healthy lungs. Patients who have any symptoms of lung disease will be referred for an appointment at a new scanning truck located at the local ASDA supermarket car park on Strelley Road. The specially equipped mobile CT scanner will offer appointments on scheduled dates from the 3 December until February next year.

So far just over 25 per cent of people have responded to the initial GP invite. Now local cancer specialists are urging more people to book in their Lung Health MOT even if they feel well at the moment.

Dr Safiy Karim - CCG Cancer Lead for Nottingham City, said: “All forms of cancer are easier to treat when caught early and we have sent invites to people who are a higher risk of developing lung disease. I would urge anyone who has received an invite through the post to contact their GP and book in a Lung Health MOT for peace of mind or even potentially life-saving treatment.”

Parts of Nottingham and Nottinghamshire have high rates of smoking compared with the national average even though the number of people smoking is in steady decline. In Aspley and Strelley between 30 and 40 per cent of the population are smokers. This is about twice the national average of 18 per cent.

The screening project has helped to boost early detection rates of lung cancer in a handful of places across the country, with Bulwell the first Nottingham location to benefit from a mobile scanning unit in 2017.

Over 1000 patients were identified at five Bulwell GP practices and over 130 people were referred for a scan. The pilot project helped to diagnose cancer in five people. 

Paula Chadwick, Chief Executive, Roy Castle Lung Cancer Foundation said: “Attendance levels at our checks were incredible, with 96 per cent coming for their scan. By placing a CT scanner in the heart of the community, more people will be able to attend their appointment. They do not have to worry about travel, particularly if they are in ill-health, or about the cost of getting there.”

Linda Salter, 70, from Bulwell said feels 'incredibly lucky' to be alive after a mobile truck scan helped to save her life.

Mrs Salter, whose husband died of lung cancer in 2002, was invited to a health check at her local GP when the scheme originally launched in Bulwell.

At the appointment Linda was diagnosed with chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder (COPD) and was prescribed medication as well as referred for a CT scan at a mobile scanner located at the Bulwell Riverside Centre.

The scan discovered two small nodules inside her right lung and she was referred to a specialist at the City Hospital the same week.

Clinicians recommended they monitor the nodules to make sure they were not growing. It was only after nine months and Linda’s third follow-up scan that the nodules had shown signs of growth.

On June 6, 2018 Mrs Salter had one third of her lung removed after cancerous cells were found during the biopsy. She said: "That original health check may have saved my life. The most important thing is that I had no symptoms and felt absolutely fine.

"So, I would have never known I had cancer until maybe it was too late. When my husband found out he had cancer it was too late.

"I just feel so lucky. If I hadn’t gone for that test I don’t know how far the cancer would have spread before I would have found out."

"I would strongly recommend that people go. I saw the invite and thought ‘why not?’. You always think ‘it’s not going to happen to me’ and I didn’t even feel ill.

“When they told me I had nodules in my lungs that was it. I never smoked again."

In addition to identifying potential lung cancer patients, the health checks can detect other respiratory conditions that can affect a person's health and quality of life without them even realising it.

Nearly two thirds (62%) of people who attended a CT scan last year were referred for further care. This was for a number of reasons including Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD), high blood pressure and asthma.

The MOT clinics are being held at the following surgeries

Melbourne Park Medical Centre

Aspley Medical Centre

Lime Tree Surgery

Strelley Health Centre

RHR Medical Centre

Beechdale Surgery

Bilborough Surgery

Boulevard Medical Centre

Grange Farm Medical Centre

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