An innovative ‘Lung MOT’ cancer screening project which could help save thousands of lives across the UK has received a massive boost from health cash plan provider Medicash.

Lung cancer is the UK’s biggest cancer killer. One of the primary reasons for the high mortality rate is because lung cancer patients are diagnosed too late. Roy Castle Lung Cancer Foundation, which has its headquarters in Liverpool, is seeking to address this by funding the lung health check project. Medicash has donated £7,200 to fund equipment vital to the project.

Roy Castle Lung Cancer Foundation was founded, initially as the Lung Cancer Fund, by chest surgeon Professor Ray Donnelly, who was then based at Broadgreen Hospital in Liverpool.

The aim of the ‘Lung MOT’ is to identify potential lung cancer patients before any symptoms appear. Patients in five practices in Nottingham who are aged between 60 and 75 with a history of smoking are being invited to attend a lung health check appointment by their GP.

During the health check, patients are first assessed. Any high risk patients are then offered a low dose CT (LDCT) scan, to identify whether they have any nodules on their lungs. If they do, they will be referred to the Nottingham University Hospital’s (NUH) Lung Cancer Multidisciplinary Team (MDT) for regular monitoring and follow up.

A mobile CT scanner will be available, making it easier for patients to attend appointments.

Paula Chadwick, Chief Executive of Roy Castle Lung Cancer Foundation, said: “We have all seen the impact NHS screening programmes have had for cervical, breast and bowel cancer. Now we are hopeful these ‘Lung MOTs’ could be a pivotal first step in seeing a similar programme introduced for lung cancer.

“If we can spot lung cancer early, we can save lives; so this project could pave the way to saving thousands of lives across the UK. With the generous support of Medicash, we are taking significant steps towards making that a reality.”

Nottingham was chosen for the pilot because it presents higher than average lung cancer statistics. Further lung health check screening schemes in other parts of the UK could follow if this project proves successful.

Medicash CEO Sue Weir said: “Roy Castle Lung Cancer Foundation is the only UK charity dedicated wholly to lung cancer. We at Medicash wanted to make this donation to enable the Foundation to proceed with this ground-breaking lung cancer screening project. A convenient and reliable way to detect lung cancer at an early stage could make a huge impact on improving outcomes for lung cancer patients.”

Established over 145 years ago, Medicash is one of the oldest and largest healthcare cash providers in the UK, offering a wide range of affordable health plans for companies, individuals and intermediaries.