Thanks to a lung health check a Droylsden resident was able to discover a benign tumour which can now be monitored by hospital staff.
Jean Waddington, 65, an ex-smoker, received a GP letter inviting her and her husband to a lung heath check. She wanted to go for the scan to make sure that neither of them had any underlying health problems with their lungs.
GP letters are being sent to households as part of the screening project, jointly organised by Tameside and Glossop CCG and Manchester University NHS Foundation Trust (MFT).
Jean was happy the scanner was located nearby, accessible and easy to get to, even if there was one minor drawback for her. Jean said: “The invite was for a venue close to home, the times were convenient for work commitments. The only thing I didn’t like was our invite was to the grounds of the Etihad Stadium and as a red it didn’t sit too well, but my husband is a blue so he was delighted.”
The whole process, including the scan, took place very quickly in a single visit. “I was aware that something could be detected in the lungs and also made aware that other incidental (related) findings could show up, which in my case it did but I wasn’t really concerned. As I’ve previously had cancer I know the importance of early detection and was grateful for the opportunity to identify something early or rule it out.”
Following the scan, Jean heard very quickly that it had detected something and was referred to hospital to investigate further, where she has had two further scans.
Jean said: “The incidental finding was a benign tumour in my upper arm which is monitored every year at the hospital so no cause for concern, in fact without the scan I doubt I would have ever known it was there at all.”
The checks are for past and current smokers in a drive to improve earlier diagnosis of lung cancer and save more lives.
Tameside and Glossop has one of the highest rates for lung cancer in England; the area is one of 23 places across the country to run the Targeted Lung Health Check (TLHC) programme.
The lung health check takes place as a ‘one-stop shop’. An initial nurse-led assessment will explore smoking status, chest symptoms, and risk of lung cancer. Those considered to be at high risk will be offered an immediate ultra-low dose CT scan of the chest.
“I can’t believe what a simple process it is and how efficient it is,” Jean said. “I don’t think I was longer than half-an-hour in total.”
Jean has a simple message for anyone thinking of getting a lung health check when they’re invited: “Go for the test. You may be a little worried or fearful but this is the best opportunity to either get peace of mind with an ‘all clear’ result or to identify something early to allow for successful treatment.”
“The process is easy, free and done in a matter of minutes; the staff are amazing, very reassuring and friendly. The opportunity to have something detected early really is priceless, and as a previous cancer survivor I would never refuse any investigation offered to me. The reassurance and peace of mind when you get the results is great.”
Dr Ashwin Ramachandra, joint chair of Tameside and Glossop CCG and clinic lead of the Targeted Lung Health Check programme in the area, said: “These health checks are vital tools in the fight against lung cancer, which is often diagnosed too late to be cured as symptoms rarely show in the early stages. Through the programme, we’re checking people most at risk of developing lung cancer so we can save more lives by spotting signs earlier when it’s more treatable.”
For more information on the Targeted Lung Health Check programme please visit https://www.tamesideandglossopccg.org/lunghealthcheck or call 0161 529 0900.