By Local Democracy Reporter
A NEW lung cancer testing scheme is set to be launched in Thurrock as part of a pilot scheme from the NHS.
It will see lung cancer testing trucks operating from supermarket car parks and will invite residents to undergo a scan that could reveal early signs of the disease.
During a board meeting for Thurrock’s Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) on Tuesday, accountable officer Mandy Ansell, called it a “once in a lifetime opportunity” and said she couldn’t remember a time the CCG had so much resource focussed on them.
Lung cancer is a significant issue in the borough and members of the board highlighted the link between this and the prevalence of smoking.
A joint strategic needs assessment by Public Health and published in 2018 indicates that 22.8 per cent of people aged over 18 are smokers, which ranks it the second highest in the country. The report adds that nationally 70 per cent of incidents can be attributed to smoking.
Thurrock is one of 10 CCG’s to take part in the first phase of the rollout, which is being funded with £70million from NHS England.
Among the other 10 CCGs taking part in the first phase are Newcastle Gatehead, Southampton, Doncaster, Hull and Tameside and Glossop.
The NHS has said it “has the potential to reach around 600,000 people over four years” and could detect as much as 3,400 cancers across the country.
Before the NHS opted to roll the scheme out across the CCGs, it was trialled in Manchester where 2,541 patients were scanned and 65 cases of lung cancer was discovered.
Cally Palmer, national cancer director at NHS England, said: “These new projects will save lives – early diagnosis for cancer is crucial as it is easier to treat, not only saving lives, but it will also mean thousands of patients will avoid life changing treatments.”
Thurrock will hold a launch event for healthcare professionals on Wednesday evening and a public launch will take place in April.