Southwark smokers are being offered free lung health checks to ensure people at risk of lung cancer and other respiratory conditions are diagnosed early.
Current and former smokers aged between 55 and 74 and registered with GPs in Southwark and Greenwich are entitled to the examinations.
Those eligible can expect a letter from their local NHS service but if it doesn’t arrive, people can call 020 3350 1513 to book an appointment.
Former smoker and Southwark resident Pat Caro, 71, is urging people to come forward, after she was unexpectedly diagnosed with lung cancer last year.
Pat said: “I was surprised when I was asked to have a lung scan – particularly as I felt fine and had no symptoms which would indicate any lung problems.”
Pat’s scan revealed a small tumour on her left lung. She continued: “The doctors confirmed that my history of smoking had most likely contributed to my diagnosis – despite having quit over 10 years ago.”
Patricia, who received treatment and is now cancer free, said: “One simple scan could save your life and give you more time to spend with your loved ones.
“Just by showing up, you can put yours and your family’s mind at ease. Don’t hesitate. Go to your appointment – you won’t regret it.”
Appointments begin with a nurse-led assessment followed by a low-dose CT lung scan if deemed necessary. The scans are being done in a community van at the Asda Superstore in Old Kent Road.
South east London is seeing some of London’s highest rates of lung cancer cases and only 24 per cent are being diagnosed early – stage one or two.
Dr Kimuli Ryanna, clinical director for the Targeted Lung Health Check programme in south east London, said: “Catching lung cancer at an early stage can make a big difference to how the disease is treated and improves outcomes for the patient.
“However, we know from a recent YouGov survey that current smokers are less likely than never-smokers to believe that detecting cancer in its early stages improves the chances of successful treatment.”
People may have already seen South East London Cancer Alliance’s eye-catching advertising campaign featuring striking optical illusion imagery.
It’s designed to warn people of undetected lung conditions by reminding passers-by to that it’s not only our eyes that can trick us, but also our lungs.
To find out how you can get an appointment visit https://www.sel-lunghealthcheck.nhs.uk/how-book. Alternatively, people can call 020 3350 1513.