Lung scanning trucks are coming to Corby as part of a four-year £2.3m project to detect cancer earlier.
Lung cancer rates for the town have for many years been much higher than those of surrounding towns and the national average.
Now in a bid for earlier detection, patients aged between 55 and 74 with a history of smoking will be offered a lung MOT by their GP and a low dose CT scan from a mobile unit. The units will also be stationed at places such as supermarkets so that people can drop in for a check.
Currently only five per cent of those who are diagnosed with lung cancer live longer than 10years. In 2016 35,620 people in the UK died from lung cancer.
Corby is one of 10 schemes in the country and the town has been chosen because it is one of the areas with the highest death rates from lung cancer.
Dr Azhar Ali, Northamptonshire Primary Care clinical lead for cancer, said: “The funding announcement is great news for local patients.
“We are delighted that Corby has been selected amongst the first areas to test the approach on a larger scale.
“We know from the results in Nottingham that offering scans in places people visit regularly like supermarkets is an excellent way to catch lung cancer and other respiratory diseases sooner. This project has the potential to save many lives in our local community.”
The scheme is based on a pilot project in major cities such as Nottingham which not only identified lung cancer but picked up a range of other health conditions including chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).
The NHS Long Term Plan published this January included a new ambition to diagnose three out of four people with cancer at an early stage by 2028 – up from about half now.
The targeted lung checks, which will be funded for four years, are part of this plan.
National statistics for cancer survival report that one in five cancer patients in Corby are only diagnosed after an emergency admission to hospital. The survival rates of emergency admission are substantially worse than routine referrals as patients are more likely to have more advanced and difficult to treat cancers.
But a recent study showed CT screening reduced lung cancer mortality by 26 per cent in men and between 39 per cent and 61 per cent in women.
People in Corby who are eligible will be invited for lung health checks, and it’s anticipated that approximately one quarter will be referred for a CT scan.