Lung cancer is one of the most common cancers in Humber, Coast and Vale Health and Care Partnership. With around 1,400 people diagnosed each year it is important to ensure those most at risk, or experiencing symptoms of lung cancer, are encouraged to come forward for help.
The COVID-19 pandemic resulted in fewer people contacting their GP about cancer symptoms and, although there has since been a positive increase in the number of people coming forward, recent data indicates that across Humber, Coast and Vale, the number of referrals for suspected lung cancer in July 2021 was 29% lower than pre-pandemic levels. So, we must work together to find any missing patients and ensure access to diagnostic services.
Key priorities within the Cancer Alliance’s plans, such as the Cancer Research UK facilitator collaboration with Primary Care Networks to deliver best practice in early diagnosis, are helping to support the recovery of COVID-19 and NHS Long Term Plan ambitions, however, we all have a part to play.
Knowing the symptoms of lung cancer and paying attention to what’s normal for you, and others, could help to spot any signs of cancer early. By taking part in free cancer champion training, people living in our region can learn the common symptoms of cancers, develop confidence to engage in conversations about cancer, and help to encourage earlier presentation.
Treatment for lung cancer can be simpler and more successful if diagnosed early, however, as there are often few or no symptoms in its earliest stages, it can be especially difficult to spot. The Targeted Lung Health Check service, currently based in Hull, is helping to rule out or diagnose cancer faster in those at greatest risk.
Run by specially trained nurses, lung health checks provide reassurance that a person’s lungs are healthy or help to spot any problems sooner, often before any symptoms occur. Since January 2020, over 5,000 eligible participants have taken part in the service and patients, such as Danny from West Hull, have received successfully received treatment during the pandemic.
Plans to roll out the service to more areas across Humber, Coast and Vale are currently being developed.
To find out more about the Lung Health Check Programme or to sign up for a Cancer Champion Awareness Session, visit www.hcvcanceralliance.org.uk.