Anyone aged 40 or over, who is registered with a GP in Bury, Heywood, Middleton and Rochdale and experiencing potential lung cancer symptoms will now be eligible to go straight for an x-ray without seeing their GP first.
From Monday 11th July, residents who have a cough for three weeks or more, shortness of breath, chest pain, fatigue, weight loss, appetite loss or have coughed up blood are able to go straight to hospital for a chest x-ray, without a referral from their GP, or even an advanced appointment in a bid to improve early diagnosis of lung cancer in the region.
The service will be operating in the radiology departments at Fairfield Hospital, The Royal Oldham Hospital and Rochdale Infirmary, between 8am and 8pm Monday to Friday, and 9am-12pm on Saturdays.
Dr Seamus Grundy, a Consultant Respiratory Physician working in Greater Manchester, said:
“We know people live busy lives and often don’t feel able to take time out of their day to make an appointment to get checked, so we’re offering this service to the public as an easy way to check for any potential lung problems.
“If you have any of the symptoms mentioned please don’t put it off – come along for a chest x-ray. It could be that peace of mind you need, and if we do find anything that needs attention, we can arrange any further tests or treatment you might need.”
Paula Chadwick, Chief Executive of Roy Castle Lung Cancer Foundation, welcomes this direct approach:
“Too often we hear people with potential lung cancer symptoms yoyoing back and forth with their GP. They’ll go with a persistent cough, or a chest infection and be given antibiotics. This can then be repeated several times, all of which results in vital weeks, months, even years being lost.
“We also appreciate people are still struggle to access primary care and see a GP face-to-face so this streamlined approach could be a real lifesaver to many people and we would encourage other regions, particularly where lung cancer is most prevalent, to adopt a similar direct pathway.
“We are making strides forwards in improving the earlier diagnosis of lung cancer, particularly through the Targeted Lung Health Check programmes. However, as with all screening programmes, there is set criteria as to who can attend.
In the case of lung health checks, the age perimeter is 55-74, so the fact that Manchester’s new initiative is available to people 40 or over could help more younger people, as well as people who do not smoke, the opportunity to be diagnosed earlier than they may have been through more conventional routes and that can only be a good thing.”
The new initiative is the first stage of a pilot which hopes to improve patient outcomes in lung cancer in the area. It represents a Joint Working partnership between the Greater Manchester Cancer Alliance and AstraZeneca UK.