Lung cancer being diagnosed earlier in the UK

UK lung cancer patients are being diagnosed earlier and gaining better access to complex surgical techniques, results of an audit suggest.

X-ray showing lung cancer (Photograph: SPL)

The National Lung Cancer Audit was carried out by the NHS Information Centre in partnership with the Royal College of Physicians. It looked at data from around 38,000 lung cancer patients.

The number of lung cancer patients who went for surgery in England and Wales increased from 10.8%, in 2008 to 11.7% in 2010. In Scotland, the number rose from 10.6% to 11.7%.

Patients given chemotherapy, radiotherapy and surgery in England and Wales rose from 54% in 2008 to 58% in 2010.

The number of patients who had tissue biopsies in England and Wales also rose from 72% to 76%. 

Professor John Britto, chairman of the Royal College of Physicians’ tobacco advisory group, said more still needed to be done to improve early detection of the disease.

Patients displaying early signs of lung cancer should speak to a GP as soon as possible, he said.

‘Anyone with a persistent cough should go to their GP – if cancer is caught early, treatment can be effective,’ he said.

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