Sunderland fans set to be offered lung cancer tests at matches by team of smoker spotters
Football fans could be targeted for lung cancer screening under plans being considered by care chiefs in Sunderland.
Under the proposals, health workers could seek out smokers on match days and encourage them to contact their doctor to be checked for early warning signs.
And even if a subsequent scan doesn’t find any evidence of the disease, it is also hoped it could spur them on to kick the habit.
David Chandler, deputy chief officer at Sunderland Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), said: “[If you] wait for someone who smokes to start getting symptoms and then go to a GP, [by the time we found out they’ve got] cancer it’s so far along there’s nothing we can do.
“The evidence shows if you can spot people before they have cancer [the more effective treatment is likely to be].
“It’s going to be people who probably wouldn’t access services – rather than go to us, we’re going to go to them and offer a low dose CT scan.
“What you see in other parts of the country is that they go to a football match or supermarkets, see people smoking and start a conversation from that.”
Mr Chandler was speaking at a meeting of Sunderland City Council’s Health and Wellbeing Scrutiny Committee, and suggested a low dose CT scan could be used to screen smokers.
According to a report for the committee, cancer is one of Waerside’s biggest killers, responsible for almost a third of deaths in the city and prevention and early diagnosis are two of the CCG’s priority areas for tackling the numbers.