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Yorkshire Lung Screening Trial funded by Yorkshire Cancer Research

Yorkshire Cancer Research is investing at least £100 million to reduce the number of cancer deaths across the region by 2,000 a year by 2025.



The issue

Around 4,300 people are diagnosed with lung cancer each year in Yorkshire. More than half of lung cancer patients in Yorkshire are diagnosed once their cancer is already very advanced, limiting treatment options and decreasing the chance of survival. Lung cancer has the highest mortality rate of all cancers in the UK.

Nearly 9 in 10 lung cancers are the result of smoking and could therefore be prevented. Smoking is the leading cause of premature death in Yorkshire, with one in two long term smokers dying as a result of smoking if they do not quit. Smoking rates in Leeds are higher than both the Yorkshire and England average.

The solution

Yorkshire Cancer Research is investing at least £100 million to save 2,000 lives every year by 2025. A key part of this is a £5.2 million investment in a programme to target lung cancer in Leeds – the largest single investment funded by the charity, and the third largest study of its kind in the world. The trial aims to test 7,000 people for the disease and is focusing on smokers and ex-smokers aged 55-80.

The Leeds Lung Health Check, a multi-million pound initiative developed in partnership with Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust, the University of Leeds and Leeds City Council, is taking place in a mobile unit that moves to different locations in Leeds to make it easier for people to take part.

More than 330 people at high risk of developing lung disease have so far taken part in this pioneering health check project.

The Yorkshire Lung Screening Trial is targeting ‘at risk’ populations in areas of high deprivation, addressing inequalities known to exist in this significant disease.

Led by Dr Matthew Callister, Consultant in Respiratory Medicine at Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust, the trial focuses on smokers and ex-smokers aged 55-80 years living in South, East and West Leeds.

The two chosen areas have high lung cancer incidence and mortality rates. In 2014, 130 cases of lung cancer per 100,000 people were diagnosed in Leeds South and East, compared to the England average of 78 and the Yorkshire average of 951. In the same year, there were 93 deaths from lung cancer per 100,000 people in Leeds South & East, compared to the England average of 61 and the Yorkshire average of 736.

How have we helped?

Achieving successful life-saving trials such as this one is critically dependent upon building collaborative strategic partnerships with the NHS, public health professionals, local authorities and our leading universities. We’re proud to have helped Yorkshire Cancer Research with this collaboration to support delivery of the trial.

The impact

By inviting participants for a Lung Health Check in community locations, this project is expected to detect approximately 290 lung cancers, the vast majority at an early stage, thereby saving lives through curative treatment.

The Lung Health Check aims to deliver additional health benefits through embedded smoking cessation provision, and through the identification of previously undiagnosed chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, another significant contributor to health inequalities.

Dr Kathryn Scott, Chief Executive at Yorkshire Cancer Research, said: “Being a member of the Leeds Academic Health Partnership has been vital in helping us deliver our lung screening trial. The organisations involved have provided invaluable support in helping us develop this complex trial and reach communities in the city where the risks are the greatest. The partnership has an incredibly powerful role to play in delivering special projects that will help to save lives in Leeds and beyond.”


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