Wales

Fast cancer checks wanted by campaigners for north Wales

Becky Williams,

Campaigners have called for a centre where patients can receive quick cancer diagnostic tests in north Wales.

Two pilots are already running in south Wales for those who do not meet the criteria for a cancer referral but where a GP has a suspicion of cancer.

They are based on a system being used in Denmark where most tests and results are done on the same day.

The Welsh Government said an evaluation report coming out this month will help to see if it can be rolled out further.

Becky Williams, from Bangor, Gwynedd, lost her husband Irfon in May 2017 and wants to see the scheme made available locally.

"Irfon started with pain in the tummy and difficulty going to the toilet. as nurses we knew this had come out of the blue and clearly something wasn't right," she said.

"Irfon did visit his GP who we were fortunate did act quickly and did refer Irfon for those tests - but the waiting list for those tests was the biggest problem.

"Because Irfon worked in the health service he was in the know and that was the reason he applied pressure to knock on doors and ask when he was going to be seen.

"That time waiting for those tests was torturous and had a hue effect on our mental health."

Mrs Williams added: "Cancer is the highest cause of death in Gwynedd. We really need this hub for patients to be able to receive a diagnosis quickly in order to start treatment.

"The earlier the diagnosis, the earlier people can start treatment. If the cancer hasn't spread the treatment is more simple and less evasive."

Richard Pugh, head of services for Macmillan Cancer Support in Wales, said the centres would reduce the time people are left to wait for answers.

He said: "When they are going to the rapid diagnostics centres, they are having as many tests as possible so we try to get patients answers as quickly as possible. That can only be a good thing.

"But it's key that people turn up to their GPs to start with. They play a vital role in getting diagnosed quickly and then treated quickly."

The pilots of rapid diagnostic centres are being carried out in the Cwm Taf Morgannwg and Swansea Bay health board areas.

A Welsh Government spokesman said: "The evaluation of the pilot projects is due this month and will then be considered by other health boards."

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