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UK lung cancer patients need better access to specialist nurses

Tuesday 31st January 2017
More specialist nurses are needed to care for lung cancer patients in the UK, a new report has found. Image: blueringmedia via iStock
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More specialist lung cancer nurses are needed in the UK in order to provide the highest possible standard of care to patients with this life-threatening disease.

This is one of the findings of the 2016 edition of the National Lung Cancer Audit (NLCA) published by the Royal College of Physicians, which found that not all lung cancer patients are being treated by nurses with specialist expertise in this area. As a result, they may not necessarily be receiving the very best standard of care for their needs.

The report shows that some 36,025 individuals were diagnosed with lung cancer in England in 2015, with 2,207 diagnosed in Wales in the same year, 4,884 in Scotland and 37 in Guernsey.

Survival rates for the condition are improving, however, as new statistics show that 38 per cent of those diagnosed with lung cancer in 2015 survived for at least 12 months, compared to under one-third (31 per cent) of those who received a diagnosis in 2010.

Meanwhile, there has been a marked increase in the number of patients with advanced non-small-cell lung cancer who receive chemotherapy, with this currently standing at a rate of 64 per cent. This suggests that experts are hopeful this treatment could go some way towards curing the disease.

What's more, 16.8 per cent of patients with this form of cancer underwent surgery over the last 12 months, further highlighting the efforts that doctors are going to in treating this illness.

Ian Woolhouse, senior clinical lead for the NLCA, commented: "It is very encouraging to note that, overall, many of our audit indicators have improved compared to the last report.

"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."

Written by James Puckle

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