Improvements in MDT performance ‘too slow’ say experts

Poor progress in some areas of multidisciplinary team (MDT) working is hindering patient treatment and survival, says a new report launched today (18 December 2014) by lung cancer experts.1

According to the UK Lung Cancer Coalition (UKLCC), lung cancer MDTs are not performing well in some key areas and large numbers of patients are still not being diagnosed early enough.

“The number of patients being diagnosed with stage IIIB or IV lung cancer varies from 11 percent to 76 percent across England,” says Dr Mick Peake, Chair of the UKLCC’s Clinical Advisory Group and Clinical Lead, National Cancer Intelligence Network and National Lung Cancer Audit.  “Such a high variation cannot continue if lung cancer patients are to be given the best possible chances of receiving appropriate and effective treatment.”

As well as tracking progress made since the launch of the ‘TheDream MDT for lung cancer’ published in 2012 – the report maps out 12 new priorities for the future.*

“Nearly one-third of lung cancer patients have to see their GP three times or more  before being referred to hospital; a figure which has shown no improvement in the last year,” adds Dr Peake. “We are calling for GPs to ensure that patients with signs and symptoms of lung cancer are urgently referred through the two week wait pathway. The earlier we diagnose lung cancer, the more likely patients can be treated and survive.”

The comprehensive review collates views and insights from active lung cancer MDT members across the country and analyses data on MDT performance from the most recently published National Cancer Patient Experience Survey (NCPES), National Lung Cancer Audit (NLCA), and Lung Cancer Service Profiles (LCSP).

Lung cancer continues to be the UK’s biggest cancer killer.2 There are over 35,000 deaths every year2 which amounts to a greater death toll than breast cancer, prostate cancer, bladder cancer, stomach cancer and leukaemia combined.3   It is reported that four people die from lung cancer in the UK every hour.2

Despite improvements in services in recent years, wide variations in lung cancer treatment and care continue to persist across the UK and treatment and survival rates lag behind other comparable countries in Europe.4,5 Patients in the UK are diagnosed with more advanced disease than many other countries and almost 40% first reach specialist care via an emergency admission to hospital.,6

TheUKLCC’S vision is to double lung cancer survival during the next six to ten years, with the co-operation of health professionals, policy makers, local primary care organisations, the NHS and Government. 

“Multi-disciplinary teams are at the heart of delivering improved outcomes for lung cancer patients, yet some aspects of MDT working still require drastic improvement across the country,” says Mr Richard Steyn, Chair of the UKLCC and Consultant Thoracic Surgeon and Associate Medical Director, Surgery, at the Heart of England NHS Foundation Trust.

“Only through continual monitoring, evaluation and service improvement will all patients receive the treatment they both need and deserve.”

The UKLCC plans to undertake a further review of lung cancer MDTs in 2016 and annually thereafter.

For a copy of ‘A review of The Dream MDT: Measuring and improving high quality lung cancer outcomes’ please visit:  www.uklcc.org.uk

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Note to editors

The UK Lung Cancer Coalition (UKLCC) is the UK’s largest multi-interest group in lung cancer.  It believes that by applying the best standards already being demonstrated in the best lung cancer centres in Europe, 3,500 lives could be saved each year in the UK.

*The 12 recommendations outlined in the ‘Review of ‘The Dream MDT’:Measuring and improving high quality lung cancer outcomes’ are as follows:-

1.       MDTs should ensure the lung CNS to lung cancer patient ratio is adequate to allow CNSs to be a core part of the MDT and be available for diagnostic, treatment and end of treatment appointments for all patients

2.       GPs should ensure patients with signs and symptoms of lung cancer are urgently referred through the two week wait pathway, and proactively follow up with their patients to ensure they have received diagnostic tests and fully understand the information given to them

3.       GPs should be regularly informed as to where their patients are along the care pathway and GPs should work with the MDT to ensure patients are told why they have been referred and be provided with information about their condition and treatment options

4.       Patients with suspected lung cancer should be assessed at a dedicated rapid access clinic at the earliest possible opportunity. In addition, the diagnostic pathway should be designed by the MDT to encourage use of fewer, but higher value, tests to increase the likelihood that diagnosis and stage of the disease is assigned as quickly and effectively as possible

5.       Full and appropriate membership of the specialist team and their regular attendance at the meetings should be of paramount importance to each MDT

6.       MDTs should ensure patients are provided with written information about the type of cancer they have as soon as a diagnosis has been established and ensure the patient fully understands the information given to them and has an opportunity to ask any questions they may have

7.       All MDTs for lung cancer patients should have at least one thoracic surgeon (undertaking a minimum one full day thoracic operating, minimum one full MDT per week and a thoracic surgical outpatient clinic with CNS support) as a core member

8.       MDTs should work to ensure all patients are given appropriate treatment options before they begin their treatment regime and are fully involved in decisions about their care

9.       MDTs should ensure all lung cancer patients are given information about any possible side effects of treatment in an easy to understand format

10.    MDTs should always arrange a ‘stock-take’ meeting within a maximum of one month from the end of a patient’s treatment to assess their experience of the care pathway, determine any other treatment provision and provide assurances of possible next steps

11.   As a minimum, MDTs should routinely assess patients’ supportive and palliative care needs around the time of diagnosis, on completion of primary treatment, when there is significant deterioration of symptoms and when it becomes clear that a patient is nearing death. A particular focus should be on improving the information required by patients and carers to ensure there is appropriate ongoing support at home

12.   At each stage of the care pathway the MDT should assess if a patient is eligible for a clinical trial and, if so, ask the patient whether they would like to participate

References

1.        Review of ‘The Dream MDT’:Measuring and improving high quality lung cancer outcomes. UKLCC December 2014

2.        Figures from Cancer Research UK, accessed December 2014 at:  http://www.cancerresearchuk.org/cancer-info/cancerstats/types/lung/mortality/

3.        Figures from Cancer Research UK accessed December 2014 at: http://www.cancerresearchuk.org/cancer-info/cancerstats/mortality/cancerdeaths/#Twenty

4.        National Lung Cancer Audit Report 2014. Report for the audit period 2013. Accessed December 2014 at: http://www.hscic.gov.uk/catalogue/PUB16019

5.        Cancer survival in Europe 1999–2007 by country and age: results of EUROCARE-5 – a population based study. De Angelis R et al.  The Lancet Oncology.  2014; 15 (1): 23-34

6.        Routes to diagnosis for cancer – determining the patient journey using multiple routine data sets.  Elliss-Brookes L, McPhail S, Ives A, Greenslade M, Shelton J, Hiom S, Richards M. Br J Cancer. 2012, 107(8):1220-6      

For further information, please contact Lynsey Conway on 07778 304233

For further information about the UKLCC and its partners, visit www.uklcc.org.uk

Report reveals half of lung cancer patients report care delays

REPORT REVEALS HALF OF LUNG CANCER PATIENTS FACE CARE DELAYS

‘Worrying’ void between patient expectation and experience, say experts

Nearly half (46%) of lung cancer patients report experiencing delays at some stage of their care – and only two thirds (64%) say they receive prompt referral to hospital – according to a national report published today (28 November) by leading lung cancer experts.1

Published by the UK Lung Cancer Coalition (UKLCC), and based on a nationwide survey to gather insights from lung cancer patients and carers, it uncovers ‘worrying’ discrepancies between what really matters to people living with lung cancer, current national targets, and the actual and care and treatment patients reported to receive. 

“Despite 95% of respondents citing ‘prompt referral to hospital’ as a priority – our survey revealed that there are still too many patients facing unacceptable care delays. This is putting lives at risk,” says consultant thoracic surgeon, and chair of the UKLCC, Mr Richard Steyn.  

In addition to care delays, the report also uncovers the ‘general lack of support and information’ received by patients and carers’ reported by survey respondents – as well as ‘mixed levels’ of public and professional awareness about the disease.   

“Only one in five (22%) of those patients surveyed reported to receive continuous support from a clinical nurse specialist; more than half were not provided with accurate information about their diagnosis (57.1%); and four out of ten respondents described their GPs’ understanding of lung cancer as ‘variable’, ‘not enough’ or ‘not at all’.  Despite, major improvements in lung cancer services in recent years, and many patients reporting a positive experience of care, these results are sobering,” he added.

As a result, the UKLCC has set out a series of practical recommendations for national and local health and social care organisations to help promote and embed a more ‘patient-centred approach’ to lung

cancer care. These include ensuring that all lung cancer patients receive a personalised care plan and that care providers produce action plans setting out steps to improve experiences reported by patients.  

“A key way to improve the lot of lung cancer patients is to really understand what matters most to them and continually track this against their actual care experiences. This is the main thrust of this report,” says Dr Mick Peake, consultant and senior lecturer in respiratory medicine, chair of the clinical advisory group of the UKLCC, and clinical lead, National Cancer Intelligence Network and National Lung Cancer Audit.    

Lung cancer continues to be the UK’s biggest cancer killer.2 There are almost 35,000 deaths every year,2 which amounts to a greater death toll than breast cancer, prostate cancer, bladder cancer and leukaemia combined.3   It is reported that four people die from lung cancer in the UK every hour.2

TheUKLCC’S vision is to double lung cancer survival during the next eight to ten years, with the co-operation of health professionals, policy makers, local primary care organisations, NHS and Government. 

November is Lung Cancer Awareness Month

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Note to editors

The UKLCC was founded in 2005 and is the UK’s largest multi-interest group in lung cancer.  Its membership includes leading lung cancer experts, senior NHS professionals, charities and healthcare companies.  Its charity members are the British Lung Foundation, Cancer Research UK, Macmillan Cancer Support, Marie Curie Cancer Care, Roy Castle Lung Cancer Foundation, and Cancer Black Care.  www.uklcc.org.uk

The report: Putting patients first: Understanding what matters to lung cancer patients and carers’ is underpinned by a UK survey of lung cancer patients and carers’ undertaken by the UKLCC in June and July 2013.

The survey was available both online and in hard copy. The survey included 14 key questions on aspects of lung cancer, including awareness, diagnosis, treatment and support.  To help gather qualitative information about patients’ experiences, a number of free text boxes were provided to

afford respondents the opportunity to share any additional insights or examples from the care and treatment they experienced or observed.

In total, 432 responses were received from patients and carers across England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.  

References:

1                     Putting patients first: Understanding what matters to lung cancer patients and carers’.  UK Lung Cancer Coalition. November 2013

2                     Figures from Cancer Research UK, accessed October 2013 and available at: http://info.cancerresearchuk.org/cancerstats/types/lung/mortality/

3                     Figures from Cancer Research UK, accessed October 2013 and available at: http://info.cancerresearchuk.org/cancerstats/mortality/cancerdeaths/

NEW National Lung cancer survey goes ‘live’

An online survey to gather the experiences of lung cancer patients, including their families and carers, from around the country, goes ’live’ today (5th June 2013). 

Launched by the UK Lung Cancer Coalition (UKLCC), the country’s largest multi-interest group in lung cancer, the research hopes to uncover what really matters to people living with lung cancer – and how their experience of living with lung cancer could be improved. 

“We need to listen to lung cancer patients,” says Mr Richard Steyn, chair of the UKLCC and consultant thoracic surgeon.“Despite improvements in services in recent years, wide variations in lung cancer treatment and care continue to persist across the UK and our survival rates lag seriously behind other comparable EU countries.”

Lung cancer continues to be the UK’s biggest cancer killer.1 There are almost 35,000 deaths every year,1 which amounts to a greater death toll than breast cancer, prostate cancer, bladder cancer and leukaemia combined.2   It is reported that four people die from lung cancer in the UK every hour.  

The survey is completely anonymous and can be accessed at: www.uklcc.org.uk.  Paper copies of the survey can also be downloaded from the website, or requested from selected lung cancer nurse specialists.

TheUKLCC’S vision is to double lung cancer survival during the next eight to ten years, with the co-operation of health professionals, policy makers, local primary care organisations, NHS and Government. 

The results of the nationwide survey will be announced later this year. 

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References:

1.        Figures from Cancer Research UK, accessed October 2012 and vailable at: http://info.cancerresearchuk.org/cancerstats/types/lung/mortality/

2.        Figures from Cancer Research UK, accessed October 212 and available at: http://info.cancerresearchuk.org/cancerstats/mortality/cancerdeaths/?a=5441

For further information, please contact:-

Lynsey Conway on 07778 304233 or email@lynseyconway.co.uk 

Lung cancer commissioning guide

Lung cancer commissioning guide

The current NHS reforms present a range of opportunities and challenges for those involved in the planning and the delivery of lung cancer services.  In recognition of this, the United Kingdom Lung Cancer Coalition (UKLCC) has compiled a commissioning guide which highlights some of the key resources available for local commissioners when designing lung cancer services.

These changes will see clinical commissioning groups assume responsibility for planning and purchasing local health services from primary care trusts, and health and wellbeing boards becoming involved in assessing the health needs of local populations.  This guide is intended to signpost these new bodies to key information and tools to enable them to commission high quality lung cancer services.  These resources include:

  • National Lung Cancer Audit which assesses the performance of local lung cancer services and enables areas for improvement to be identified
  • Cancer Commissioning Toolkit developed by the National Cancer Intelligence Network
  • Lung Cancer Quality Standard produced by the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) which sets out key markers of high quality lung cancer care to inform the work of commissioners, providers and healthcare professionals, and provide clear information to patients about the kind of care and support they should expect to receive

We hope that this guide is a useful addition to the support available to commissioners and will help to ensure that the health reforms deliver better outcomes for lung cancer patients.

Download the guide HERE

Developing a quality standard for lung cancer care

The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) is in the process of developing a number of ‘quality standards’ – concise statements of what defines high-quality, cost-effective patient care in the treatment and prevention of various diseases and conditions. Development of the lung cancer quality standard is underway, and the UKLCC believes it is crucial to get this right in order to ensure that lung cancer patients across the country receive the highest standard of treatment and care.

The UKLCC has therefore published its own quality standard – a set of 20 quality statements setting out what UKLCC professionals believe constitutes best practice. The standard covers the whole patient pathway, from awareness raising and support at diagnosis stage, right through to the quality and accessibility of clinical treatment.

Click here to download a copy of the UKLCC’s lung cancer quality standard

National Lung Cancer Audit 2009: Half of patients do not see a Lung Cancer Nurse

National Lung Cancer Audit 2009: Half of patients do not see a Lung Cancer Nurse

The National Lung Cancer Audit published by the NHS Information Centre on 2nd December 2009 shows that:

  • Only half (51%) of lung cancer patients are currently seen by a lung cancer specialist nurse and only one in four have a nurse specialist present at the time of the diagnosis.
  • Where patients are seen by a lung cancer nurse, six out of ten (59.4%) receive active treatment / treatment to halt the spread of their disease*
  • Conversely, where lung cancer patients do not have access to a lung cancer specialist nurse, only three in ten (30.9%) receive any form of active treatment*

*This relationship has not been measured previously and further work will be required to define its precise significance, but it does suggest, at the very least, a strong association between good specialist nursing and other aspects of high quality care.

Other highlights from the report:

  • 94 percent of all lung cancer cases are now recorded in the National Lung Cancer Audit (over double the number first recorded in 2005)

However, despite nearly all hospital trusts in England, Scotland and Wales now participating in the Audit:

  • Only around one in ten patients receive surgery (11%) – still the best chance of a cure
  • Only about half (54%) of patients receive any form of treatment to halt the spread of their disease
  • There remains wide variation in standards across the country

Official Comment from UK Lung Cancer Coalition:

The National Lung Cancer Audit appears to show that, where specialist nurses are at the heart of the multidisciplinary lung cancer teams, patients are more likely to receive active treatment and this could have a big impact on survival. The UK Lung Cancer Coalition believes that every lung cancer patient should have access to a lung cancer nurse from the moment they are diagnosed.” Dame Gill Oliver, Chair, UK Lung Cancer Coalition.

NB Active treatment – treatment to halt spread of disease i.e. chemotherapy, radiotherapy or surgery

Official Comment from National Lung Cancer Forum for Nurses:

“The National Lung Cancer Audit highlights the pivotal role of lung cancer nurse specialists and yet lung cancer continues to be the poor relation. On average, there is one lung cancer nurse in England for every 132 people diagnosed with lung cancer, compared to 82 people per every breast cancer nurse. Without access to lung cancer nurses, patients will suffer as they will not have access to the in-depth nursing knowledge, care and support that lung cancer specialist nurses can provide.” Liz Darlison, Chair, National Lung Cancer Forum for Nurses.

UKLCC launch Lung Cancer Plan

UKLCC launch Lung Cancer Plan

12-POINT PLAN WILL DOUBLE LUNG CANCER SURVIVAL INSIST EXPERTS

The UK’s leading lung cancer experts have today (5th November) outlined a 12-point plan to help double lung cancer survival and eradicate the huge national inequalities that exist in lung cancer care.

The development of screening, greater funding of research, earlier diagnosis and ensuring all patients, wherever they live, have access to a full range of lung cancer specialists and professionals, are among some of the detailed calls to action announced in the first-ever UK Lung Cancer Plan.1

“UK lung cancer survival is one of the worst in Europe with half of all lung cancer patients dying within six months,” says Dame Gill Oliver, chair of the United Kingdom Lung Cancer Coalition (UKLCC).

A recent analysis showed that UK survival rates lag seriously below the European average, despite the high national expenditure on health services.  Only Malta (with a five-year survival rate of 4.6%) has a lower survival rate than Scotland (8.2%) and England (8.4%).  In comparison, 16.8% of lung cancer patients in Iceland are still alive five years after diagnosis.2

“Not only are the differentials across Europe alarming but currently, despite service improvements, you are four times more likely to survive lung cancer in some parts of England than others*,” adds Dame Gill. “This is unacceptable.”

The UKLCC’S vision is to double lung cancer survival during the next eight to ten years, with the co-operation of health professionals, local primary care organizations and government.  The new 12-point plan highlights the areas where the biggest gains can be made and is the result of months of discussion between the UKLCC’s experts, including doctors, nurses, researchers and patient groups.

“We know if we apply the best standards of care already being demonstrated in some parts of the country, we can double one year and five year lung cancer survival rates by 2010 and 2015,” says Dr Mick Peake, chair of the UKLCC’s clinical sub-group and NHS national clinical lead for lung cancer. “Thousands of lives could be saved as a result.”

Lung cancer is the UK’s biggest cancer killer3; it kills over 33,000 people each year,3 which is more than breast cancer, prostate cancer, bladder cancer and leukaemia combined.4 The disease accounts for one in 20 of all deaths in the UK,5 one in six of all cancer cases and one in four of all cancer deaths.6 It is reported that four people die from lung cancer in the UK every hour.3  Despite, being labeled a ‘smoker’s disease’, thousands of people with lung cancer have never smoked.

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Note to editors:
*The NHS Performance Indicators (2002) for lung cancer survival shows wide variations in lung cancer survival in England.  Currently, as a result of socioeconomics and health provision inequalities, you are four times more likely to survive from lung cancer in Chelsea, Stockport and Solihull than you are in Northumberland, Rotherham or Sunderland (for example). 7

The UK Lung Cancer Coalition (UKLCC) is a powerful new coalition of the UK’s leading lung cancer experts, senior NHS and Department of Health professionals, charities and healthcare companies. It is the UK’s only multi-interest group in lung cancer and it is the first time that all the major charities with an interest in the disease have joined forces to fight lung cancer.  The UKLCC is supported by gifts in kind from charities and software manufacturers and by direct grants from AstraZeneca, GE Healthcare, Lilly UK, Pierre Fabre, Roche Products Ltd, Sanofi-aventis who are bound by a funding and governance policy. www.uklcc.org.uk

References:

  1. Lung Cancer Plan: improving lung cancer survival in the UK. UK Lung Cancer Coalition; November 2007
  2. Verdecchia A, Francisci S, Brenner H, Gatta G, Micheli A, Mangone L, Kunkler I, and the EUROCARE-4 working group.  Recent cancer survival in Europe: a 2002-02 period analysis of EUROCARE-4 data.  Lancet Oncology.  Published online August 21, 2007
  3. Figures from Cancer Research UK, available at: http://info.cancerresearchuk.org/cancerstats/types/lung/mortality/
  4. Figures from Cancer Research UK, available at: http://info.cancerresearchuk.org/cancerstats/mortality/cancerdeaths/?a=5441
  5. http://www.rcplondon.ac.uk/college/ceeu/ceeu_lung_home.htm
  6. Cancer Atlas of UK and Ireland, 2005. Chapter 13, p139
  7. http://www.performance.doh.gov.uk/nhsperformanceindicators/2002/hacals_d.html

For further information, please contact:-
Lynsey Conway on 07778 304233
email@lynseyconway.co.uk

 

NHS still failing Lung Cancer Patients say experts

NHS still failing Lung Cancer Patients say experts

Increase in treatment could save 3000 lives per year

The NHS is still failing lung cancer patients, according to the results of the first national review of lung cancer services, published today (2 November 2009).1  Despite headway in UK lung cancer prevention, disease awareness and screening, key areas such as diagnosis, treatment rates and access to specialists are still ‘woefully inadequate’ say the UK’s leading lung cancer experts.

According to the United Kingdom Lung Cancer Coalition (UKLCC), one-third of patients still do not receive a biopsy to diagnose their condition, and thousands are denied life saving surgery due to lack of experienced specialists.1

“There are only 44 full-time equivalent specialist thoracic surgeons spread thinly over 240 multidisciplinary cancer teams across the country and many teams lack core members ” says Dr Mick Peake, chair of the UKLCC’s clinical advisory group and the NHS national clinical lead for lung cancer. “Alarmingly, patients who are fit for surgery are being turned down.”

As well as tracking progress made since the launch of the first UK Lung Cancer Plan in 20072 – the report also maps out where priorities lie for the future.

“In some parts of the UK fewer than 10 percent of patients receive any form of treatment to halt the spread of their disease – that is to say chemotherapy, radiotherapy or surgery. We are calling for a 70 percent active treatment rate across the board, which would mean a massive reduction in the number of lung cancer deaths. Up to 3000 lives could potentially be saved each year as a result,” adds Dr Peake.

The comprehensive review, based on feedback from clinicians at the frontline of lung cancer services, reinforces many of the shocking statistics revealed in the National Lung Cancer Audit published earlier this year.*

“We are still letting lung cancer patients down,” says Dame Gill Oliver, chair of the UKLCC. “Our review shows there are still huge variations and vast inequalities in care across the country.  We believe that, whatever the cause of their disease, patients deserve the best care and support.”

Lung cancer is the UK’s biggest cancer killer3; it kills around 34,500 people each year3, which is more than breast cancer, prostate cancer, bladder cancer and leukaemia combined.4   The disease accounts for one in 14 (7%) of all deaths in the UK,3 one in six of all cancer cases and one in four of all cancer deaths.5 It is reported that four people die from lung cancer in the UK every hour.3  Despite, being labeled a ‘smoker’s disease’, one in eight people with lung cancer have never smoked.6

UK lung cancer survival rates compare poorly with the rest of Europe7 and, currently, just a quarter of people with lung cancer in England (25%) will live for a year and less than one in ten (7% in England) are still alive five years after diagnosis.8

The UKLCC’S vision is to double lung cancer survival during the next six to ten years, with the co-operation of health professionals, local primary care organizations and government.

“We know if we apply the best standards of care already being demonstrated in some parts of the country, we can double one year survival by 2015 and five year survival by 2020,” says Dame Gill Oliver.
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Note to editors:
*The National Lung Cancer Audit for 2007, published in April 2009, highlighted:-

  • Only half (51%) of lung cancer patients receive any kind of active treatment.
  • Only 10% of patients have surgery – still the best hope of a cure.
  • Not all patients have access to a specialist nurse – a vital source of information and support for patients and their families

The report can be accessed at http://www.ic.nhs.uk/services/national-clinical-audit-support-programme-ncasp/audit-reports/lung-cancer

**According to the Eurocare 4 Study, average five year survival in the UK is 8.95 percent [England (8.6%), Scotland (8.0%), N Ireland (10.2%) and Wales (9.0%] compared to 12.3% average in Europe7 and a 15 percent average in the United States.9

The UK Lung Cancer Coalition (UKLCC) is a coalition of the UK’s leading lung cancer experts, senior NHS professionals, charities and healthcare companies. It is the UK’s only multi-interest group in lung cancer.  www.uklcc.org.uk The UKLCC was established in November 2005 to help to bring lung cancer out of the political, clinical and media shadow. In addition to sponsorship and grants from its constituent organizations, including charities, core funding for the UKLCC is obtained from membership fees received from pharmaceutical companies.

Smoking prevention would save at least seven out of eight of the lives lost to lung cancer each year.

References:

For further information, please contact:-
Lynsey Conway on 07778 304233 or email@lynseyconway.co.uk

Experts call for more Lung Cancer nurses

Experts call for more Lung Cancer nurses

Lung cancer specialist nurses from throughout the UK will call on Government to standby its commitment to specialist nurses at a meeting in Westminster today (29th October). They will lobby politicians to ensure every lung cancer patient has access to a lung cancer nurse.*

“Lung cancer nurses play a vital role in supporting patients and their families,” says Maria Guerin, chair of the National Lung Cancer Forum for Nurses, which is a member of the United Kingdom Lung Cancer Coalition. “Yet, one in ten lung cancer patients currently do not have access to a specialist nurse.”

Lung cancer kills more than 34,000 people every year.1 More women die from lung cancer than breast cancer2 and the disease kills more people than breast cancer, prostate cancer, bladder cancer and leukaemia combined.3

‘Despite lung cancer being the UK’s biggest cancer killer, there aren’t enough nurses compared to the number of patients diagnosed,” adds Maria Guerin.

According to recent figures, on average, there is one lung cancer nurse in England for every 132 people diagnosed with lung cancer, compared to 82 people per every breast cancer nurse.4

“We need an extra 200 lung cancer specialist nurses in the UK to bring specialist nurse provision in line with some of the other major cancers,” says Dame Gill Oliver, chair of the United Kingdom Lung Cancer Coalition (UKLCC), of which the NLCFN is a member.

The UKLCC believes that every lung cancer patient should have access to a lung cancer specialist nurse.

“Currently, access to a lung cancer nurse depends largely on where you live. Some patients will never see one,” adds Dame Gill. “Without access to lung cancer nurses, patients will suffer as they will not have access to the in-depth nursing knowledge, care and support that lung cancer specialist nurses can provide.”

With the help of nurses and other key health professionals, the UKLCC’S vision is to double lung cancer survival during the next seven to ten years and eradicate the huge inequalities that exist in lung cancer care. Currently, UK lung cancer survival is one of the worst in Europe5 with half of all lung cancer patients dying within six months.6

“Lung cancer nurses are a valuable resource and also save NHS trusts money,” adds Maria Guerin.

Indeed, a recent survey undertaken in partnership with the National Lung Cancer Nurses Forum shows lung cancer nurses in England carry out more than a total of 71,000 hours of unpaid overtime every year – saving employing trusts nearly £1.5m per annum.7

About Lung Cancer
Over 38,000 people are diagnosed with lung cancer every year,8 and it accounts for one in six of all cancer cases9 and one in 20 of all UK deaths.10 It is reported that four people die from lung cancer in the UK every hour.1 Despite, being labeled a ‘smoker’s disease’, one in eight of all lung cancer patients have never smoked.11
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About the UKLCC

The UK Lung Cancer Coalition (UKLCC) is a powerful coalition of the UK’s leading lung cancer experts, charities and healthcare companies. It is the UK’s only multi-interest group in lung cancer and it is the first time that all the major charities with an interest in the disease have joined forces to fight lung cancer.  The UKLCC is funded by its members, who are bound by a funding a governance policy. The member healthcare companies and charities provide financial grants and grants in kind to achieve the UKLCC stated goals. Details of our members, governance, aims and objectives, can be found at our website at: www.uklcc.org.uk

Note to editors:
Nurses from around the UK will take part in a photo call at College Green, Westminster at 1pm on 29th October (the eve of Lung Cancer Awareness Month) in order to highlight their campaign.

For more information about the National Lung Cancer Forum for Nurses and their forthcoming 10th Annual Conference visit www.nlcfn.org.uk

*The Department of Health’s Cancer Reform Strategy and Improving Outcomes Guidance, together with NICE, all recommend that every lung cancer patient should have access to a specialist nurse.

References:

  1. Figures from Cancer Research UK, available at: http://info.cancerresearchuk.org/cancerstats/types/lung/mortality/
  2. Figures from Cancer Research UK, available at: http://www.cancerresearchuk.org/aboutcancer/statistics/mortality
  3. Figures from Cancer Research UK, available at: http://info.cancerresearchuk.org/cancerstats/mortality/cancerdeaths/?a=5441
  4. Trevatt P, Petit J, Leary A (2008) Mapping the English cancer clinical nurse specialist workforce. Cancer Nursing Practice. Vol 7(3) pp 33-38
  5. Verdecchia A, Francisci S, Brenner H, Gatta G, Micheli A, Mangone L, Kunkler I, and the EUROCARE-4 working group.  Recent cancer survival in Europe: a 2002-02 period analysis of EUROCARE-4 data.  Lancet Oncology.  Published online August 21, 2007
  6. Cancer Research UK Statistics Dept
  7. Leary A, Bell N, Darlison L, Guerin M An analysis of Lung Clinical Nurse Specialist workload and value. Cancer Nursing Practice. For publication/in press.
  8. Figures from Cancer Research UK, available at: http://info.cancerresearchuk.org/cancerstats/types/lung/incidence/
  9. Cancer Atlas of UK and Ireland, 2005. Chapter 13, p139
  10. http://www.rcplondon.ac.uk/college/ceeu/ceeu_lung_home.htm
  11. Peto, R et al. Mortality from smoking in developed countries 1950-2000 2004

For further information, please contact:
Lynsey Conway on 07778 304233 or email@lynseyconway.co.uk

Contact

UKLCC Secretariat: Red Hot Irons Ltd, Maria House, 1683b, High St, Knowle, Solihull, B93 0LL

Tel: 01675 477605
Email: Info@uklcc.org.uk
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