Emergency hospital admission is still the most common route for diagnosing lung cancer.
This is ‘a travesty’, insists a new report published by the UK Lung Cancer Coalition.
According to the UK Lung Cancer Coalition (UKLCC), patients diagnosed via emergency are over five times more likely to die within one year of diagnosis than those referred for treatment by their GP.
“The UK has some of the worst lung cancer survival rates in Europe. This is because lung cancer is being diagnosed too late, often after an emergency presentation,’ declared Professor Mick Peake, Clinical Director, Centre for Cancer Outcomes, and Chair of the UKLCC’s Clinical Advisory Group which authored the report.
In England, around 40 per cent of people with lung cancer first reach specialist care via an emergency admission to hospital.
In addition, across the country there is a five-fold variation in the proportion of lung cancers first diagnosed via an emergency.
“Diagnosing lung cancer at an early stage can lead to more treatment options and better outcomes for patients,” added Professor Peake.
According to the Office of National Statistics, nearly nine out of ten (88%) lung cancer patients will survive for at least a year if diagnosed early (stage 1), compared to only one fifth (19%) who are diagnosed with the most advanced stage of disease.
The UKLCC’s report, ‘Early Diagnosis Matters: Making the Case for the Early and Rapid Diagnosis of Lung Cancer’, lays out 10 key recommendations for diagnosing lung cancer earlier in order to increase lung cancer survival. These include:
The report also includes examples of best practice – demonstrating how certain NHS Trusts are working to make the earlier diagnosis of lung cancer happen.
“There is no single ‘silver bullet’ when it comes to increasing rates of early diagnosis in lung cancer. However, through consistent, wide ranging and coordinated efforts from across the lung cancer community, we can reduce late diagnosis, particularly through emergency presentation, and see a difference in the outcomes achieved across the UK,” explained Mr Richard Steyn, chair of the UKLCC and Deputy Medical Director, University Hospitals Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust.
Source: UK Lung Cancer Coalition