Monday, November 28, 2022

Lung cancer screening family appeal on the Isle of Man

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Paul Smith of the Isle of Man died of lung cancer on February 15, 2022, eight weeks after his diagnosis.

Paul’s partner Sharon Langley said: “He was funny, crazy, very loving and very supportive. My kids loved him, he was just wonderful.”

She continued: “When he told me what the doctor said, I couldn’t believe it.

“This was a man who had absolutely no idea he had lung cancer, none of us did. And no one could quite believe how quickly it caught on.”

A recent Manx Care report found that lung cancer is the number one cancer killer in the Isle of Man.

The family is now lobbying to make screening a priority on the island.

Sharon added: “If he was living here with lung cancer right now he would be the first one talking and trying and fighting to get this screening to help other people.

“He is wonderful and absolutely irreplaceable.”

In August 2020, Paul began to feel unwell, but it wasn’t until he developed a cough that he decided to see a doctor.

He was diagnosed with stage IV lung cancer and died just eight weeks later.

Sharon said: “Paul was getting a little tired, he was a very hard worker so we put the tiredness down to general everyday life so it took a long time to convince him to get checked out because he wasn’t sick.

“Then they said the general prognosis was pretty bad and without treatment he would probably have two months.

“Unfortunately after that his condition deteriorated rapidly, he got really bad pain in his kidneys and a week later he was in a hospice and four days later he died.”

Paul’s sister Helen Gough said: “The loss is enormous. I kept saying you need to see a doctor but he’s a guy and didn’t want to go to the doctor and luckily Sharon stepped in.”

“We didn’t know the signs, Paul certainly didn’t know the signs and in fact the signs were so subtle I just couldn’t believe our youngest brother was going to die.”

Paul’s eldest sister, Julie McCutcheon, added, “What I could see was the shock on Paul’s face, as if to say, ‘I can’t believe I have this.’

“I don’t think there is consciousness, really, because if there was, we would have known about it.”

“You feel this emptiness,” she added, “there’s a gaping hole in your life now because your little brother isn’t there anymore.”

What are the symptoms of midday cancer?

Anyone can get lung cancer, men and women, young and old, smokers and non-smokers.

Symptoms can include:

In the UK, 130 people are diagnosed with lung cancer every day.

Experts say targeted screening for the disease is “recommended” for people over 55.

But in the Isle of Man this service is not available.

“Not getting screened for this cancer is horrible,” Sharon said.

“At 55 to have that scan and it’s a low quality CT scan he would have been found and that wouldn’t have happened and he wouldn’t have died.”

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