Lung Cancer is a silent killer - Screening programme urgently needed
Lung Cancer is a silent killer - Screening programme urgently needed
Why this petition matters
The loss of a loved one is the worst thing anyone will have to come to terms with, it affects your life forever and from our own experience it is not something that you will ever get over, you will just learn to live with your new life and try to exist without them, because there is nothing else you can do.
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?
We are by petition, fighting for lung cancer screening to be available in the Isle of Man. Isle of Man Anti Cancer Association and Roy Castle Lung Cancer in the Isle of Man would welcome a screening programme on the Island. They recognise the need for early diagnosis and support screening programs. There is no such program in the Isle of Man at present, there needs to be.
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.
Please take a few minutes to read Paul’s story, not to shock, but to let you know about the devastating effect that lung cancer can have on your life...........it’s torn ours apart.
Paul was a happy, active family man, who had just turned 56 on 12 December 2021. He was a smoker but had managed to give up the habit early in 2021. During August 2021 Paul had started to feel tired, had lost a little weight but nothing to shock us, he was, after all working hard in his business and carrying out part time work. He was an active devoted dad of 4, a beloved papa miff to his grandsons, the most cherished partner and loving brother. He didn’t stop work. He was always chasing round doing something either for work or for his family so feeling tired did not raise any red flags. He had a cheeky and wicked sense of humour and to him his family and loved ones were the most important thing in his life.
By October 2021 Paul was feeling sweaty at night, a google search didn’t alert us to anything and let's face it, he was living an active busy life. The sweating carried on sporadically for the next few weeks, but life carried on as normal.
In November 2021 Paul began to look a little different, tired, the pallor of his skin slightly grey and he had developed an irritating cough. It was difficult to convince him to get a simple check over.
In December 2021 he went to see the doctor, not because he thought he was ill, he just thought he would make sure he was okay as the sweating was irritating him.
The doctor gave Paul thorough check up, he took blood and sent him for a chest Xray. The blood tests showed he was severely anaemic which would explain his tiredness and the chest Xray revealed a small shadow. He was put on Iron tablets and referred for an urgent CT scan. Paul had his CT scan on 20 December 2021 and was called in the following day for an appointment with the Respiratory Consultant. It was at this point we knew there was something seriously wrong, yet Paul was still working, still busy and still did not have many symptoms.
That appointment changed all of our lives forever. Paul was diagnosed with Stage 4 lung cancer, 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 6 months without he was looking at 2 months!
Imagine hearing that, imagine having that bombshell thrown at you. 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.
From that point, things developed at an alarming rate, we were all surprised at the daily changes we would see in him. The intense headaches, the weakness in his body, the confusion, the pain, and then the loss of motor function, partial paralysis and agitation that he experienced toward the end was heart-breaking. Imagine seeing this a couple of weeks after going to the doctor after that initial appointment for a bit of sweating, tiredness and a cough? Would you now wish that you had gone sooner?
On the 11 February 2022 Paul was admitted to Hospice where he very sadly passed away on the 15 February 2022 with his partner, children and siblings around him, everyone moved in to be with him and surround him with love, we could not come to terms with losing him. Paul was initially diagnosed on 20 December 2021 and passed away 8 weeks later, without any chance of receiving any meaningful treatment to give him more time! Now imagine if screening was in place for this cancer like there is for other cancers. It was advised that he possibly had this tumour growing for almost 2 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 how different our lives would be now.
In the UK 600 stage 1 and 2 lung cancers have been found already in people who had no idea they had it. But their story is different than Pauls’. They have had theirs found early enough to be able to treat it, they will be around for their family and loved ones, we will never have our Paul back, the loss is devastating and we will never get over it, but you don’t need to go through this. All we ask is for you to sign this petition so we can try and instigate change and bring this essential screening to the Isle of Man.
Smoking is the leading risk factor for lung cancer and is responsible for 80% of lung cancer deaths. However, 20% of lung cancer deaths relate to people who have never smoked. It could be exposure to Radon gas, second hand smoke, certain metals, certain organic materials, radiation, pollution, diesel fumes. Family history and genetic factors may also play role in the development of lung cancer.
Across the UK, 48,500 are diagnosed with lung cancer each year; 130 per day. 36,000 people die each year after contracting lung cancer - 1 person every 15 minutes. This cancer kills more people than Breast, Prostate and Pancreatic Cancers combined.
Despite improvements in the 1 in 5 year survival rates for lung cancer the prognosis for patients remains poor with an average life expectancy of just over 200 days.
Survival depends on many factors, no one can tell you how long you will live. General statistics are below, we have been unable to obtain the figures on the Isle of Man at present, despite requesting it. The earlier it’s picked up and treated the higher the chance of survival, however 32% of people with lung cancer are diagnosed through A&E presentation when the cancer is advanced.
Stage 1 – Around 55 out of 100 people (55%) will survive their cancer for 5 years or more after diagnosis.
Stage 2 - Around 35 out of 100 people, (35%) will survive their cancer for 5 years or more after diagnosis.
Stage 3 – Around 15 out of 100 people (15%) will survive their cancer for 5 years or more after diagnosis.
Stage 4 - Around 5 out of 100 (5%) people will survive their cancer for 5 years or more after diagnosis.
These statistics are alarming, this cancer is a SILENT KILLER and demonstrate that the earlier the diagnosis the better the chance of survival or an extended life.
We please ask for your support to sign this petition to bring about change, so you don’t have to suffer the devastating effects of this disease. Let Paul’s story and our pain be a positive for everyone else with loved ones that they want to see live their lives to the full.
Ref Lung cancer research Foundation Cancer research UK