Manchester shoppers offered scans to spot lung cancer

Paul Murphy with one of the portable Lung Health Check CT scanners and radiographer Mark Iwankiw Image copyright Macmillan Cancer Support
Image caption Shoppers at Harpurhey Market will benefit from the mobile scanning unit for a month before it moves to Wythenshawe Forum and Gorton Tesco

Shoppers are being offered scans in north Manchester in a bid to spot lung disease in smokers.

For the first time, mobile CT scanners will be located in shopping centre car parks in a pilot project by cancer charity Macmillan and NHS England.

Smokers and former smokers can receive a free lung health check which could lead to an on-the-spot scan.

North Manchester has highest incidence of lung cancer in England and double the death rate for the disease.

Patients aged between 55 and 74 who have a history of smoking and are registered at selected GP practices are being offered the free check.

Dr Phil Barber from Macmillan said the project provides a "real chance" of identifying cancers and other lung diseases "early enough to cure them".

"We can no longer afford to wait for symptoms to develop before investigating for lung diseases, because by then it's often too late", he said.

Image copyright Science Photo Library
Image caption If the pilot is successful in North Manchester, it will be rolled out across the city

The charity said CT scans are more effective than X-rays in diagnosing lung cancer because they enable clinicians to identify very small cancer nodules.

'Save lives'

Lung cancer is the biggest cause of cancer deaths in the UK. Most people are diagnosed as emergency cases at A&E and die within six weeks, Macmillan said.

The disease affects more people per head of population in north Manchester than anywhere in England.

The incidence rate in NHS North Manchester is 174 patients per 100,000 compared to the English average of 79.3 per 100,000.

The area's lung cancer mortality rate is also double the English average at 123.8 per 100,000.

Macmillan's Anthony Threlfall, said this "ground-breaking approach" could "save lives".

The mobile scanner will be at Harpurhey Market for a month before moving to Wythenshawe Forum in July and Gorton Tesco car park in August.

If successful, the project could be rolled out across Manchester and, potentially, the rest of England.

Symptoms of lung cancer

  • a cough that won't go away, caused by irritation of the tubes that carry air in and out of your lungs
  • breathlessness - if the tumour is either large or blocks off an airway
  • wheezing from that side of the chest which may make it difficult to sleep on one side
  • blood in your phlegm
  • pain - usually only if the tumour reaches the edge of the lung
  • weight loss - because cancers use up energy to grow.
Image copyright SPL
Image caption Lung cancer deaths in England are more common in people living in the most deprived areas, according to Cancer Research UK

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