A local woman is petitioning for lung cancer screening to be made available in the island.

Sharon Langley, from Colby, has set up the petition after her partner Paul Smith died from lung cancer earlier this year at 56 years old.

With over 900 signatures, the petition calls for screening facilities in the Isle of Man as there are currently none.

Ms Langley said: ‘If something could be done to keep your loved one here, something small, something easy, painless and only takes a few minutes, why wouldn’t you do that? Why wouldn’t you fight for that?

‘Sometimes diagnosis comes too late to help. Screening provides an opportunity for everyone to take a few minutes out of their schedule to be checked.

‘There is no such program in the Isle of Man at present, there needs to be.’

She added that Isle of Man Anti Cancer Association and Roy Castle Lung Cancer in the Isle of Man would welcome a screening programme and recognise the need for early diagnosis and support screening programs.

In her petition, Ms Langley explained her partner’s story.

Having lost some weight and starting to feel tired in August last year, he was still an active father of four and it wasn’t until October 2021 that the started sweating at night.

By November he began to ‘look a little different’, according to Ms Langley, and developed a cough.

At the end of the year he saw a doctor, who did a blood test, which showed he was severely anaemic, and sent Mr Smith for a chest X-ray, where a small shadow was found.


He was put on iron tablets and referred for an urgent CT scan in December, after which he was called back to be diagnosed with stage 4 lung cancer.

‘That appointment changed all of our lives forever,’ Ms Langley said. ‘It had spread to his adrenal glands, his liver, his spleen, his thigh bone and, more devastatingly, he had metastasis in his brain. It was terminal.

‘Paul had just turned 56 and he had no idea he was so ill. Paul was told with treatment he might have six months, and without he was looking at two months.’

She added: ‘Imagine hearing that. Paul was carrying on with life, just a little tired, a cough and a bit sweaty at night – is that what stage 4 metastatic lung cancer looks like to us?

‘When you look past the disease we now have a very noticeable empty space at family events, a mother without her son, siblings without their precious brother, children and grandchildren without their doting dad and papa to guide and support them throughout their life, and a partner who has lost the other half of her heart.’

The lung cancer symptoms developed at an ‘alarming rate’ after that with intense headaches, weakness in Mr Smith’s body, confusion, pain and then the loss of motor function, with partial paralysis.

‘The agitation that he experienced toward the end was heartbreaking,’ Ms Langley said.

On February 11 this year, Mr Smith was admitted to Hospice where he passed away shortly after on February 15.

Having been initially diagnosed on December 20, 2021, he died eight weeks later ‘without any chance of receiving any meaningful treatment to give him more time’, said Ms Langley.

‘Now imagine if screening was in place for this cancer like there is for other cancers,’ she said. ‘It was advised that he possibly had this tumour growing for almost two years without symptoms.

This is why lung cancer is described as a silent killer.

‘Lung health checks are being conducted in the UK at 55 for any person deemed high risk. It’s a simple, quick consultation and then a low grade CT scan.

‘If this had been available for Paul, think how different our lives would be now.’

To sign the petition, go to Change.org and search ‘Lung Cancer is a silent killer - Screening programme urgently needed’.