A bereaved family is ‘over the moon’ to hear that a targeted lung cancer screening programme has been recommended in the Isle of Man.
There are currently no screening facilities for lung cancer in the island but the National Screening Committee has now recommended its introduction.
Paul Smith died from lung cancer in the island earlier this year at 56 years old.
His partner Sharon Langley and his family set up a petition, which has garnered more than 1,700 signatures, appealing for screening as they believe ‘things could have been different’ if screenings had been available in the Isle of Man.
Ms Langley said: ‘I am over the moon that this has now been made a recommendation and the petition has been recirculated again. It has gained more signatures following highlighting the UK making this a recommendation and I do hope that the Isle of Man Government now start to put the plans in place to implement this screening process in the Isle of Man.
‘The petition has highlighted some people who have been affected by lung cancer in the Isle of Man. The comments on the petition show how many loved ones have been lost. Early detection is key in surviving lung cancer and sadly most cases are found when it’s too late.
‘We will continue to raise awareness for the need for this. We would please ask for everyone to read Paul’s story and sign and share our petition to bring about change, targeted lung cancer screening and checks will save lives.
‘There is screening for other cancers, so why not this one? More needs to be done to raise awareness of this cancer.’
Helen Gough, Paul’s sister, was ‘very pleased’ with the development.
‘I’m hoping that the Isle of Man Government and Manx Care will also get on board with this important and vital screening for the island biggest cancer killer,’ she said. ‘We have screening for other cancers, this is the biggest so, they should get on board and lead.
‘We are doing our best to raise awareness by bringing our family petition to the island’s public for signature and awareness of the disease, especially with the disease being a silent killer.
‘We are helping Roy Castle Lung Cancer Foundation fundraise to help raise awareness and inform others what RCLCF can do for sufferers and carers.
‘Most of all, we really want lung cancer screening, here on the Isle of Man, it would have helped save my brother, the loss of Paul, a brother, lover, father and grandad has profoundly affected us all. Come on Manx Care, let’s get this implemented, let’s save lives!’
In the UK, 36,000 people die each year after contracting lung cancer.
Lung cancer kills more people than breast, prostate and pancreatic cancers combined, according to Cancer Research UK.
Public Health said: ‘We recognise the importance of catching lung cancer early in providing effective treatment and support to patients and families and we welcome the National Screening Committee’s interim recommendation for a targeted screening programme for lung cancer in the UK and Isle of Man.
‘There is some early research examining the benefits of screening for lung cancer so it is pleasing to see that we are headed in the right direction. Before this can be actioned, the committee requires more modelling work in order to refine its recommendation, address implementation challenges and determine optimum protocols and pathway screening across the UK.
‘We will await this work and continue monitoring advice and guidance before we can begin planning for an early screening programme in the Isle of Man.
‘The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) has provided guidance on symptoms for health professionals, which we also support.
We ask that everyone watch out for early signs of the illness.
‘If you, a friend or family member has been coughing for three weeks or more, contact your GP practice.
‘It’s probably nothing serious, but it could be a sign of cancer. Early diagnosis and treatment of cancer can save lives.
‘We also have a smoking cessation service, and would encourage anyone who smokes and is worried about the risk of developing lung cancer to take up the offer of support from this service.’
Cancer charity Roy Castle Lung Cancer Foundation has also reacted to the news, saying it is ‘delighted’ by the announcement.
The Isle of Man branch said: ‘We are absolutely delighted that after many years of campaigning for a screening programme for lung cancer the NSC has now made this recommendation.
‘The Isle of Man Government and Manx Care are committed to providing the very best available care for island residents and although this recommendation is focused on the United Kingdom, we hope that the introduction of a screening programme in the island will soon be given the consideration it deserves.
‘Lung cancer is the highest cancer killer on the Isle of Man. If you, or anyone you care for, is affected by lung cancer, please contact us. We are here to help you.’
Symptoms of lung cancer to look out for include a long-standing cough that gets worse, chest infections that keep coming back, coughing up blood, an ache or pain when breathing or coughing, persistent breathlessness, persistent tiredness or lack of energy, and a loss of appetite or unexplained weight loss.