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Updated 27 December 2023

14 December 2023

Dorset’s new lung screening service is marking its first anniversary, and has already proved hugely successful in identifying conditions much earlier and improving outcomes for patients.

The Targeted Lung Health Check is part of a national initiative aimed at diagnosing and treating lung and breathing problems before they become serious. People aged 55 to 74, who are registered with a Dorset GP and are a current or former smoker, are invited to have a Lung Health Check.

Dorset County Hospital (DCH) is the lead provider for the programme, working with health partners throughout the county.

Patient Alan Brewer, from Portland, is very grateful he was invited for a lung health check as it revealed he had lung cancer.

He explains: “I was invited to a Lung Health Check appointment and was deemed high risk of developing a lung cancer due to smoking for 34 years, but I stopped smoking 33 years ago and saw myself as fit and healthy.

“After the appointment I was given a CT scan at Dorset County Hospital. I was told I needed further investigations as there was something on my lung. I then went to Poole where I had a PET scan which confirmed it was cancer – a day later I was receiving treatment at Southampton Hospital to remove it.

“The whole experience was so quick and efficient. I recovered well and quickly from the surgery to remove the cancer and can now run for a bus without getting out of breath or coughing.

“I would definitely go to another screening programme and would encourage everyone I know to go too.

“If I had gone a few years later, I may not have been able to be treated. I cannot thank the programme enough. I am a survivor.”

Dr Jenny Graves, DCH Respiratory Consultant, said: “I am so proud that the Targeted Lung Health Check programme has been running for one year in Dorset.

“We have screened the population of Royal Manor Health Care on Portland and are well on our way to screening the Kinson Road Surgery in Bournemouth. In the New Year we are moving on to the Bridges GP Surgery in Weymouth and Banks and Bearwood in Bournemouth. We have undertaken 902 face-to-face Targeted Lung Health Checks and 440 CT scans.

“We have now found six early-stage lung cancers and several cancers from other primary sites, including breast, oesophagus, bladder, and kidney. In addition, we have diagnosed emphysema, high blood pressure and coronary artery disease and started treatment that will help prevent early deaths from lung and cardiac disease. We have also referred patients on for smoking cessation support.

“Targeted Lung Health Checks have now become a permanent National Screening Programme and so our team is growing in number.

“If you are offered an appointment for an assessment, I would strongly recommend you attend - a 30-minute appointment could save your life!”

Further information about the service is available here

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