Man hit with surprise cancer diagnosis after simple test found deadly disease

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A man who suspected he was suffering from a bad chest infection was hit with a deadly diagnosis following a simple test.

Owen McGrath, from Childwall in Liverpool, didn’t think his symptoms were much to worry about.

However, when the 71-year-old was offered a free NHS lung check he decided it was best to take it up.

Owen attended his “simple” appointment at a mobile unit in a retail park, but did not expect the results he got.

Speaking to the Liverpool Echo, he said: “I just turned up, they gave me the scan there and then, and I went home.

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“A couple of weeks later they came back to me to say there was something on the scan that they wanted to investigate further.”

Owen actually received a call from his doctor on his birthday to share the devastating news that he had lung cancer.

He underwent treatment at The Clatterbridge Cancer Centre and Liverpool Heart and Chest Hospital in Broadgreen to reduce the size of tumour and then remove it through surgery.

The former smoker has since been given the all-clear.

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“I’m just so glad I went for the check,” he said.

“I didn’t expect it to show anything at all, but I later got a call to say they had found something.

“It was a shock, but it meant I was then given more in-depth scans and tests before they confirmed that it was cancer.

“They told me on my birthday but, to be honest, I was just glad they had caught it.”

He is now sharing his journey as part of lung cancer awareness month in the hopes of encouraging others to get screened for the disease when offered.

Owen added: “The treatment wasn’t too bad in the end. When people think about lung cancer, they think it’s a death sentence, especially if the cancer is growing like mine was, but that is just not true.

“The treatments they have now mean that you have a chance to get through it.”

His oncology consultant at The Clatterbridge Cancer Centre, Doctor Carles Escriu, highlighted the importance of people attending their lung check appointment.

He said: “Lung cancer is associated with negative stigma and guilt, and there is an inherited fear to cancer therapy that discourages patients from accessing early diagnosis.

“Most patients that have neoadjuvant chemo-immunotherapy are having excellent responses and cope much better with the treatment than those patients with extensive, incurable disease.”

Currently the NHS lung health check programme is available to smokers or ex-smokers aged between 55 and 74.

If you’re eligible for a check you will receive a call or letter from your GP surgery.

In its early stages, lung cancer often does not cause symptoms.

However, if it develops it can cause:

  • A cough that does not go away after three weeks
  • A long-standing cough that gets worse
  • Chest infections that keep coming back
  • Coughing up blood
  • An ache or pain when breathing or coughing
  • Persistent breathlessness
  • Persistent tiredness or lack of energy
  • Loss of appetite or unexplained weight loss.

If you experience any symptoms you should speak to your doctor.

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