Detecting lung cancer in Portsmouth

Identifying patients at high-risk of lung cancer and referring them to appropriate services.


Lung cancer is the third most diagnosed cancer in England and accounts for the most deaths, with the rate of survival very much dependent on how early the cancer is diagnosed.

Portsmouth was found to have a higher lung cancer mortality rate compared to other areas in Wessex.

As a result, the lung cancer case finding project was launched to aid early detection in at risk groups in the city, with a view to reducing this mortality rate.

There has been recent investment in the diagnostic pathway for lung cancer to implement the optimal lung pathway in acute trusts which provides a lower threshold for suspected lung cancer. This project builds on this and intends to bring the diagnosis earlier for the patient to allow a better outcome for any cancers found.

The main aims of the project are to:

  • Help enable equity of outcome for people at risk of lung cancer
  • Increase the number of referrals for earlier detection and diagnosis

These aims were achieved by identifying high-risk patients on GP registers based on certain criteria. High-risk patients were identified as being:

  • Between 40-80 years old
  • Smokers or ex-smokers, with raised platelet counts within the past nine months
  • Individuals who had a CXR or cancer diagnosis in the past six months

As a result, 478 patients were identified in Portsmouth between June and December 2021. These cases were then reviewed by a GP and patients were then invited for an x-ray and referred on to appropriate services.

Dr Karen Kyd, Clinical Director of Portsdown Group Practice said:

“This project was successful because it was easy to identify patients at increased risk from lung cancer and investigate them further. The aim is for clinicians to continue to use these red flags in the future to identify lung and other cancers.”

Further information

The project continues through Primary Care Network contracts as a Locally Enhanced Service and links into the wider early detection work happening nationally.

It is a partnership between the Portsmouth Primary Care Association (PPCA), NHS Portsmouth CCG, Portsmouth Hospitals University NHS Trust and Practice Plus Group.