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WCRC Research Fellow Dr Grace McCutchan helps to launch lung health check pilot within Cwm Taf Morgannwg UHB

Wales Cancer Research Centre funded Research Fellow Dr Grace McCutchan has helped to launch an innovative new Lung Health Check pilot within Cwm Taf Morgannwg University Health Board (UHB).

The pilot led by Cwm Taf Morgannwg UHB and the Wales Cancer Network, launched in September 2023 and is the first Lung Health Check in Wales. It will inform implementation of a future lung cancer screening programme in Wales. Working with GP surgeries in North Rhondda, the pilot programme will offer a low-dose CT lung screening scan to around 500 patients who are high-risk for lung cancer. 

Research shows that lung cancers detected through Lung Health Checks are more likely to be found at an earlier stage, and potentially reduce the risk of dying from lung cancer by around 20%. Grace is a member of the pilot’s Clinical Steering Group and her role is to provide evidence-based behavioral science advice to enhance public participation and integrated prevention. To do this Grace helped to develop public facing information materials using non-judgmental language that could be easily understood and by using evidence-based pre-invitation and GP endorsement.

Professor Kate Brain, who was is also a member of the Clinical Steering Group, said: “Lung Health Checks will help us to find more lung cancers in the earlier stages. This means more patients will be able to access treatment and ultimately improve outcomes for lung cancer. The launch of the Lung Health Check pilot programme in Cwm Taf Morgannwg is a really exciting step for Wales. It will provide vital evidence to inform the roll-out of a future lung cancer screening programme in Wales.”

Grace’s research has focused on reducing socioeconomic inequalities in cancer and how best to encourage early diagnosis through screening, encourage symptomatic help-seeking, and support cancer prevention. She has been involved with the Yorkshire Cancer Research-funded YESS (Yorkshire Enhanced Stop Smoking) study, led by Prof’s Rachael Murray and Mat Callister at Nottingham University. The YESS study aims to test how best to support patients with quitting smoking when they attend lung cancer screening. Findings from this study will inform the development of the strategy to support smoking cessation within lung cancer screening in Wales.