Targeted lung health check programme

A Targeted Lung Health check is different to NHS health checks. Even if you’ve recently been for an NHS health check, you should still consider attending your Targeted Lung Health Check.

If you...

  • Need to change your appointment
  • Require this information in a different language
  • Require additional support to attend the appointment, such as an interpreter or translator
  • Have any other questions

Please contact the bookings team on 0117 233 8127 or email

Targeted lung health check

Your invitation

Those aged from 55 to 74 who smoke or used to smoke have a higher risk of developing lung cancer. We want to check your lungs are working well. It's rare that an issue is found, but if it is we can act quickly and provide treatment. It's your decision if you attend a lung health check or not.

Why you are being offered a lung health check

There are often no signs or symptoms of lung cancer at an early stage. As a result, sadly around 7 in 10 cancer patients are currently being diagnosed too late to be cured.

Targeted Lung Health Checks help find problems early (often before you notice anything is wrong) and at a stage when treatment could be simpler and more successful - ultimately saving more lives.

Most lung cancers grow slowly enough for them to be found at an early stage by a lung scan.

Targeted lung health check process

A Targeted Lung Health Check is a two stage process in which we assess the health of your lungs.

You will have a phone call or meeting with a health professional to evaluate your chances of developing lung cancer.

If you are identified as someone who has a higher chance of developing lung cancer you'll be invited to
have a quick scan on board a mobile CT unit. The scan will take a detailed image of your lungs for us to review. You may be asked to return for a follow-up scan. If a problem is found you'll also be referred on for treatment.

What happens at a targeted lung health check

There are two parts to the lung health check but not everyone will need a lung scan. This will depend on your results from the initial assessment. Throughout the process you will have plenty of time to chat to the health professionals and ask any questions.

1. Initial assessement

You will have a phone call to discuss your breathing, overall lung health, lifestyle and family and medical history. If you require an interpreter or translator, you will be invited to a face to face appointment.There are three possible outcomes:

  • Offer of a lung scan
    If you have a higher chance of developing lung cancer now or in the future you will be offered a lung scan to check if your lungs are in working order. We work out your risk from your lifestyle, medical and family history. The health professional will help you to choose whether the scan is right for you and find an appointment slot that works for you
  • No problems found
    The health professional may find nothing further to look into. You don't need to have a lung scan
  • Referral to your GP
    If problems with your breathing or lungs are found but you do not require a scan, the health professional may refer you on to your GP or another specialist

In all three cases your GP will be written to to let them know.

2. Lung scan

You will be invited to have a quick scan of your lungs. This is a special CT (Computed Tomography) scan that uses a very low dose of radiation and a computer to take a detailed picture of your lungs. It will take place in a community setting, such as a supermarket or football club car park, at the location nearest to you. Locations include Bridgwater, central Gloucestershire, West Bath, North Bristol, Central Bristol and South Bristol.

During the scan

You do not need to do anything to prepare for your scan.

  1. During the scan, you will usually lie flat on your back on a bed that moves slowly through the CT scanner. The scanner is shaped like a ring and it rotates around a small section of your body as you pass through it.
  2. Specially-trained staff (called radiographers) control the scanner from behind a screen in the CT room. You will be able to see and speak to them during the scan.
  3. When a scan is taken, you will need to lie still and follow simple breathing instructions for 10 seconds. This makes sure the pictures are not blurred.
  4. The scan is painless and you will be able to eat, drink and drive as normal before and after your scan.

Possible results

You will get your results from within four weeks. There are four possible results:

  • No problems found
    This means we saw no signs of lung cancer, or other problems, on the scan. We will write to you with the results and ask you to come back for another scan in two years. This will be scheduled nearer to the time. However, it is still possible that lung cancer could develop between scans or that the scan may have missed it. If you notice anything that is not normal for you before your next scan, tell your doctor
  • Second scan needed
    This usually means there is something on the scan which is hard to identify. It is probably something harmless, but because it could be more serious we will ask you to come for another scan in around three months, just to check. Details of the appointment will be included on your results letter
  • Further tests needed
    This means we've seen something on the scan and you need further tests, which could include a biopsy. We will call you and write to the hospital so you can be seen by a doctor to investigate further
  • Another problem found
    This means there is no sign of lung cancer but there are signs of other problems on the scan that may need treatment or medical advice. We will write to you and your GP and ensure you're referred on to the correct specialist

The chances of finding lung cancer

For every 100 people who have an initial assessement,

54 will be offered a scan,

8 will need a second scan to further investigate spots which were difficult to identify,

3 will need futher tests and scans,

2 will be diagnosed with lung cancer.

Less than 1 in 500 people will have an operation for suspected cancer but later be told that there was no cancer found.

Early diagnosis

If there is a problem on one bit of the lung, and this is caught early, treatment can focus on just the bit that is affected. If found later the problem may have spread to other areas of the lungs and body making it more difficult to treat.

Treatment of early stage lung cancer

Treatment of early stage lung cancer is often more successful:

  • You are three times more likely to be diagnosed at an early stage through a lung scan
  • Small and early lung cancer can often be removed completely by operation or treated with radiotherapy
  • Research suggests screening for lung cancer using CT scans can reduce your risk of dying from the cancer by around 25 percent

CT scanners use a small amount of radiation to produce pictures of your lungs. However, by using the very latest CT scanners, we are able to reduce the amount of radiation needed. The chance of this scan saving your life by detecting an early cancer is far greater than the chance of the scan causing you any harm.

For a very small number of people the scan does not always find a cancer that is there. This is called a false negative. You could also still develop lung cancer in the future. If you do start to display symptoms at any time please see your doctor.

In some people, the scan picks up something even though they do not have lung cancer. This is called a false positive result and would mean you need further tests before confirming you don't have cancer.

Scans can pick up lung cancers that will never cause a person harm. Doctors can not always tell if a cancer will go on to be life threatening, as a result, some people will receive treatment that they do not need.