Basildon residents can now receive free NHS lung health check-ups.

Run by the Targeted Lung Health Checks programme, free screenings are offered to smokers and ex-smokers aged 55 to 74 with the aim of timely detecting the disease.

In Basildon, almost 30,000 people fit the criteria and will be invited for the check-up in the coming months.

Read more: Southend Coastguard urgent warning over 'tombstoning'

The decision is inspired by the significantly high number of lung cancer cases and late diagnoses in the town.

Dr Boye Tayo, GP and clinical director for Basildon & Brentwood, said: “Many people in the UK aren’t sure about what the symptoms of lung cancer are.

"We know if lung cancer is caught early, treatment is possible and people can go on to live life to the fullest.

"If you live in Basildon and are eligible, make sure you take up these potentially life-saving health checks.”

Lung health checks have detected early-stage cancers in other areas, including 39 in Thurrock and 40 in Southend.

The check-ups include an initial phone consultation with a nurse, followed by a CT scan for high-risk patients on a mobile unit.

Eligible residents are therefore advised to update their GP records to take part in the programme.