Southern Trust trial new fast track scans to diagnose lung cancer


The Southern Trust has launched a new trial to help speed up lung cancer diagnosis.

Lung Cancer is one of the most common and serious cancers. As there are usually no obvious early signs or symptoms, most patients are diagnosed at a more advanced stage and it is sadly the most common cause of cancer death worldwide.

Usually patients with suspected symptoms are referred by their GP for a chest x-ray before seeing a Respiratory Consultant who would arrange a scan.

Now GPs can directly refer patients to Radiology Department Daisy Hill or South Tyrone hospital where the new CT scanners can provide a specialised ‘low dose CT scan,’ which is proven to have a high sensitivity to lung cancer, even in the early stages.

The Trust is the first in Northern Ireland to introduce this new fast track system which will be trialled for six months.

GPs can now refer patients aged over 40yrs of age who have symptoms which may indicate earlier signs of lung cancer including:

  • Unexplained persistent cough for more than 3 weeks
  • Fatigue
  • Shortness of breath
  • Chest pain

For smokers this may also include

  • Weight loss
  • Appetite loss
  • Persistent or recurrent chest infection

Detailed information on how to refer patients has been sent directly to GPs.