The NHS has announced they will be touring lung cancer hotspots in England to diagnose cases earlier and provide better treatment for lung cancer.
The NHS will cross the country with a set of 12-foot-high lungs to capture the attention of the communities where cases of lung cancer are high. The initiative will urge the public to check if they have any symptoms of the disease to capture it earlier and provide the best treatment for lung cancer.
The inflatable lungs will be large enough for visitors to walk inside allowing them to learn about lung health and the effects of smoking on the lungs. Volunteers and community engagement teams will be around to talk to members of the public. People with suspected symptoms will be encouraged to visit a doctor as soon as possible.
Early treatment for Lung cancer is essential
A recent survey has found that less than two-thirds of the public recognised that a cough lasting for more than three weeks or more may be a sign of lung cancer. Almost a quarter of participants said they would do nothing if they had this symptom.
Only 55% of respondents said they would contact their GP if they had a cough lasting for more than three weeks. This has alarmed the NHS as getting early treatment for lung cancer significantly improves the patient’s chances of survival.
“A life-saving diagnosis can begin with a simple conversation, and the NHS is doing everything it can to bring lung cancer to the forefront of people’s minds,” said NHS National Cancer Director, Dame Cally Palmer.
“Our targeted campaigns have been extremely successful in the past, catching hundreds of cancers early in communities which traditionally are less likely to come forward for checks. This novel scheme will no doubt raise eyebrows, but it will also raise awareness of early cancer detection, ultimately meaning a better chance of successful treatment for those coming forward.
Lung cancer referrals are on the rise
The new campaign comes at a time when the NHS is providing treatment for lung cancer at pre-pandemic levels. The number of people seeking checks for lung cancer is also back to pre-pandemic levels, with over 10,000 referrals over the same two-month period. Lung cancer has been the slowest of all cancer types to return to these levels.
“Lung cancer kills nearly 27,000 people each year in England, and we must do more to fight this disease. Raising awareness of the main symptoms is crucial, and this new NHS and Roy Castle Lung Cancer Foundation campaign will encourage people to open up about their health,” said Minister for Health Will Quince said.
“Referrals and treatment for lung cancer are back to pre-pandemic levels, and we continue to make progress on our commitment to having 75% of patients who have been urgently referred for suspected cancer either diagnosed or have cancer ruled out within 28 days”.
The NHS roadshow will visit 26 locations including Blackpool, Sunderland, Bradford, and Dudley, and London. NHS data has found that these areas have the highest rates of lung cancer in the UK.