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Tower Hamlets residents invited to UK's largest ever 'lung MOT'

PUBLISHED: 14:00 06 May 2019

Prof Sam James is chief investigator in the study: “This large-scale study gives us a unique opportunity to detect lung cancer earlier, when treatment is more likely to be successful.

Prof Sam James is chief investigator in the study: "This large-scale study gives us a unique opportunity to detect lung cancer earlier, when treatment is more likely to be successful." Picture: UCHL.

UCHL

Thousands of Tower Hamlets residents are being invited to get their health checked in what will be the UK's largest ever lung cancer screening study.

Some of the testing for the study will happen in Mile End Hospital. Picture: Mike Brooke.Some of the testing for the study will happen in Mile End Hospital. Picture: Mike Brooke.

The project has two aims: to detect the cancer early in at-risk Londoners and to help develop a blood test to detect lung and other cancers earlier.

It is also designed to inform a potential lung cancer screening programme, similar to the ones done for breast, bowel and cervical cancer.

“This study gives us in primary care a welcome opportunity to identify those most at risk of lung cancer – often the hardest to reach patients in our communities – and encourage them to take up the offer of screening for lung cancer,” said Tania Anastasiadis, a GP and clinical lead for cancer at Tower Hamlets' clinical commissioning group..

“The construct of the study also means those most at risk will have a general lung health check offering support and advice on improving their health in general.”

An average of 114 people in the borough are diagnosed with lung cancer each year and 78 die from it, according to the NHS.

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Lung cancer is the most prolific cancer for fatalities in the UK, causing around 36,000 deaths each year.

How late people develop symptoms and the difficulty of treatment is what makes it such a serious condition.

University College London Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust (UCLH) and UCL are conducting the study.

It will be split into two groups of 25,000 people, one of those with a high risk of lung cancer and on of those that don't have a high risk.

Up to 100,000 people in north and east London aged 50-77 who meet the criteria for what the study is looking for (like a history of smoking) will be offered a lung health check.

After that check, they could be offered the opportunity to take part in the study.

Prof Sam Janes, professor of respiratory medicine at UCL/UCLH and chief investigator in the study, said: “This large-scale study gives us a unique opportunity to detect lung cancer earlier when treatment is more likely to be successful amongst those proven to be most at risk – people who smoke or used to smoke, aged between 50 and 77.

The NHS Trust and hospital are working with the US biotechnology company Grail. It is developing the technology to detect cancers in their early stages by analysing patient's blood.

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