The NHS is set to roll out mobile lung cancer testing centres that have helped to significantly increase early diagnoses by offering cancer screening from supermarket car parks.
The programme, announced on 21 November 2017 by NHS England chief executive, Simon Stevens, will fund portable CT-scanners to screen smokers and ex-smokers in three more parts of the country, potentially saving thousands of lives.
The Lung Health Check pilot took place in Manchester and was able to “quadruple” early diagnosis rates by offering people between 55 and 74 with a history of smoking, breath testing and on-the-spot scans around shopping areas in some of the city’s most deprived boroughs.
In the course of the pilot, 2,500 people got scans, diagnosing one cancer case for every 33 patients screened. Critically, four out of five of these were at an early, more treatable, stage.
Speaking at a War on Cancer event, run by The Economist, Mr Stevens set out steps the health service is taking to improve its rates of early diagnosis. This follows a report showing the NHS lags behind Europe on cancer diagnosis and treatment because of underinvestment in the sector.
Figures earlier this year showed more than 100,000 patients waited longer than the two-week standard for receiving cancer tests following an urgent GP referral, a target that has been missed three years running.
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Author: Rachel Bowen, Birmingham office e: