Man must act immediately as he is diagnosed as a ‘silent killer’

Owen McGrath, from Childwall, Liverpool, was invited to an appointment for a lung health check in his area – which he says no one should ignore because it saves lives.

Liverpool’s Owen McGrath spoke about his cancer journey(Clatterbridge Cancer Center)

A pensioner has urged people to “act immediately” if they are asked to attend appointments for a lung health check – as it helped with an early diagnosis of his cancer.

Owen McGrath, 71, received the sad news that he had cancer in his left lung on his birthday. The man was invited to a lung check-up appointment as part of a program being rolled out in his area and is grateful to have attended.

More than a million people in England, aged 55 to 74, who smoke or used to smoke have already been invited to a free, targeted lung health check. They detect lung problems, including cancer, in the early stages, even before symptoms appear. This was the case in Owen’s experience, but he no longer has cancer. He told the Liverpool Echo that other people were expected to attend these appointments.

The retiree said: “I’m so glad I asked for the check. I didn’t expect the scanner to show anything at all, but later I got a call to say they found something. It was a shock, but it meant that I then underwent further scans and tests before confirming that it was cancer. They told me on my birthday but, to be honest, I was just happy they caught it.

Owen, from Childwall, Liverpool, continued: “The treatment wasn’t too bad. When people think of lung cancer they think it’s a death sentence, especially if the cancer develops like mine, but that’s simply not true.

“The treatments they have now mean you have a chance of getting through it. I thought the treatment itself would be hard on me, but I found it good – and I’m still alive. I would say To everyone who is offered a lung check-up, take action immediately. You cannot ignore a free test – it could save your life.

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Lung cancer is often referred to as the “silent killer” because it can develop without causing visible symptoms in its early stages. It is the deadliest cancer in the UK, killing more people than breast, prostate and pancreatic cancers combined.

This is a particular problem in parts of Cheshire and Merseyside, where the number of people diagnosed with the condition is significantly higher than the national average. In Cheshire and Merseyside, of 35,800 CT scans carried out so far, 412 lung cancers have been detected, with 85% at one or two early stages. People diagnosed with lung cancer at an early stage are almost 20 times more likely to survive five years than those whose disease is detected late.