People living in deprived areas are now more likely to be diagnosed with lung cancer at stage one or two following the NHS’ targeted on-the-spot screening drive.
The NHS in England began offering ‘lung MOTs’ in 2018, based out of trucks parked in supermarket carparks in areas with the lowest lung cancer survival rate.
New NHS data has now shown that more than a third (34.5%) of people diagnosed with lung cancer in the most deprived fifth of England were diagnosed at stage one or two – up from 30% in 2019.
Operating out of 43 sites across the country, including Liverpool, Manchester and Hull, the mobile trucks off on-the-spot chest scans for those at higher risk, including ex-smokers.
More than 300,000 people have attended a scan across all sites, of whom more than 1,750 people were diagnosed with lung cancer.
And more than three-quarters (76%) of them were caught at stage one or two, compared to just a third in 2018.
NHS England also launched today (24 April) a new advertising campaign in collaboration with the Roy Castle Lung Foundation to encourage people who are at-risk to attend the scans.
Dame Cally Palmer, national director for cancer, said: ‘These findings are incredibly important – they show the power behind targeted health programmes with the NHS continuing its drive to detect cancers earlier by going into the heart of communities that may be less likely to come forward.
‘While early diagnosis rates for cancer have traditionally been lower for deprived groups, thanks to the rollout of lung trucks, the NHS has turned a huge corner – and is now finding and treating those who would otherwise have been undetected.’
And Michelle Mitchell, Cancer Research UK’s chief executive, said: ‘It’s really encouraging to see these positive results from the rollout of the NHS lung trucks programme, around 14,300 cases of lung cancer each year in England are linked with deprivation and sadly, people living in England’s most deprived areas are more likely to die from the disease than those in less deprived areas.
‘Lung cancer is an area where significant progress needs to be made which will improve cancer inequalities, it’s also the most common cause of cancer death in the UK, but spotting it early – when treatment is more likely to be successful – can save lives.’