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Lung cancer survival rate rises as more patients access life saving treatments


25 January 2017

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More people are surviving for a year after a lung cancer diagnosis now than they were five years ago, according to a new report by the Royal College of Physicians (RCP).

The National Lung Cancer Audit (NLCA) report 2016 found a 7% increase on the number of people living for one year after a diagnosis – rising from 31% in 2010 to 38% in 2015.

The report also revealed that 60% of lung cancer patients received anti-cancer treatments such as chemotherapy, radiotherapy or surgery, meeting the target set in the 2015 annual audit report.

According to the RCP, a change in the way data are collected in England, using the National Cancer Registration and Analysis Service, more than 6,000 cases of lung cancer could be identified and included within the audit.

As a result the RCP said in a statement that the report “has provided the most comprehensive picture of lung cancer in the UK to date”.

The report makes several recommendations, including urging multidisciplinary teams with anti-cancer treatment rates below 60% to conduct detailed case reviews.

Meanwhile teams with one-year survival rates of less than 38% should review their diagnostic and treatment pathways.

Ian Woolhouse, NLCA senior clinical lead, said the report’s results were “very encouraging”.

He added: “However, there is still much work to do to ensure that all lung cancer patients receive a standard of care that is equal to the best in the country and we implore all lung cancer units to critically review their results and work with our quality improvement team to achieve this.”

Dr Jesme Fox, medical director of the Roy Castle Lung Cancer Foundation, stressed that that “it is really important that we monitor services, and lung cancer patient outcomes, in a timely manner”. She added: “This audit allows us to do that”.

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