NHS England said the scans have been offered at GP practices, addiction recovery services, food banks, sexual health clinics, diabetes clinics, and homeless shelters.
By the summer, it is predicted that around 22,000 scans will have been completed by the trucks as they visit more places around England.
In a statement, the national cancer director for the NHS, Dame Cally Palmer said the “life-saving checks” would target those at risk of the disease who may not have come forward if it wasn’t for the presence of the trucks.
Dame Palmer added: “The on-the-spot liver scans have already found one in 10 people have advanced liver damage that needs further monitoring or treatment as it could lead to liver cancer.
“This ensures 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. 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 the opportunity.”
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Although not one of the four most common cancers in the United Kingdom, statistics show the number of cases of liver cancer has doubled in the past 10 years with around 6,100 diagnosed every year.
Symptoms of liver cancer include unexpected weight loss, vomiting blood, loss of appetite, and pain or swelling of the abdomen.
At the moment, only a third of liver cancers are diagnosed at an early stage. NHS chiefs hope their mobile testing programme will help catch more cancers earlier so more lives can be saved.
The programme is aiming to target those most at risk of the disease including people who drink too much, have viral hepatitis or a history of it, and people with non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD).
The programme has already begun to bring through results.
Out of the 7,000 scans carried out between June 2022 and January 2023, more than 830 people with cirrhosis or advanced fibrosis were identified and referred for further treatment. These two conditions are considered by some to be the leading causes of liver cancer.
In a statement, Health minister Helen Whately said: “We know the earlier we detect cancer, the earlier treatment can begin and the better the chance of a patient recovering.
“We are supporting the NHS to bring liver scans into the heart of communities to help tens of thousands of patients to receive a potentially life-saving diagnosis sooner.”
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