Liver cancer check rolled out in high-risk communities

A new initiative has been rolled out that checks for liver cancer in high-risk communities as part of NHS plans to catch more cancers earlier and save lives.

Mobile trucks have performed more than 7,000 fibroscans and identified 830 people with cirrhosis or advanced fibrosis in eight months. The majority of those were referred on to further care.

The trucks are visiting high-risk communities around the country in locations such as GP practices, recovery services, food banks, diabetes clinics, sexual health clinics and homeless shelters. It is expected that they will scan 22,000 people during the first year of the scheme.

The checks are being offered to adults with high levels of alcohol consumption, a current diagnosis or history of past viral hepatitis, or non-alcoholic liver disease.

Dame Cally Palmer, National Cancer Director for the NHS in England, said: “Building on the success of other community diagnostic schemes, like our lung trucks, this innovative surveillance programme is bringing lifesaving checks to people who are at a higher risk of liver cancer, and who may have found it difficult to come forward or access health care otherwise.

“The on-the-spot liver scans have already found that around one in ten people in communities visited have advanced liver damage that needs further monitoring or treatment as it could lead to liver cancer – ensuring these people are seen early and referred on for further testing will help us to diagnose cancers at an earlier stage.

“We’ve already seen hundreds of people diagnosed at an earlier stage through our targeted lung cancer trucks, and now with the addition of NHS teams offering these vital liver checks in mobile trucks across the country, I urge anyone who is offered a scan in their community to take up the opportunity.”

Image by Steve Buissinne from Pixabay