Poorer people are now more likely to be diagnosed with lung cancer at an earlier stage after the NHS began on-the-spot chest screening in supermarket car parks.
Across 43 sites, mobile trucks scan those most at-risk of lung cancer, including current and former smokers.
People in deprived communities have historically been less likely to be diagnosed at an earlier stage and therefore more likely to die sooner than those in more affluent areas.
But since the NHS started screening people in poorer neighbourhoods, the proportion of people in the most deprived 20 per cent of England’s population who are diagnosed with the disease at stage one or two has risen by 30 per cent.
The trucks offering ‘lung MOTs’ were first deployed in areas such as Birmingham, Hull and Doncaster, where lung cancer survival rates are among the lowest, before the service was expanded to Manchester and Liverpool.
Dame Cally Palmer, National Cancer Director for NHS England, said:
“[The findings] show the power behind targeted health programmes, with the NHS continuing its drive to detect cancers earlier by going into the heart of communities that may be less likely to come forward.
“While early diagnosis rates for cancer have traditionally been lower for deprived groups … the rollout of lung trucks has turned a huge corner and is now finding and treating those who would otherwise have been undetected.”
More than 300,000 people have visit the trucks so far, among which more than 1,750 have been diagnosed with lung cancer.
Over three-quarters were diagnosed at stage one or two last year, compared to just a third in early 2018 when the campaign began.
Professor Peter Johnson, National Clinical Director for Cancer, NHS England, said:
“It used to be that people who were least well off were most likely to have lung cancer at an advanced stage when we found it.
“By taking these CT scans to people in that group and by diagnosing lung cancer earlier than ever before we have actually turned that trend on its head.
“So people who are least well off are now more likely to have their lung cancer identified at an early stage than anybody else.”