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03 November 2015 07:53
People with lung cancer still face inequalities when accessing treatments, data suggests
Not all lung cancer patients are getting the best possible treatment, according to a new report.
Ten Years On In Lung Cancer: The Changing Landscape Of The UK's Biggest Cancer Killer - published by the UK Lung Cancer Coalition (UKLCC) - reveals significant inequalities in accessing treatments and services.
Age, socio-economic status or place of residence can go against patients, despite improvements in survival and incidence rates.
The proportion of people with early stage lung cancer varies from 33% to 63% across England and Wales.
Rates for chemotherapy vary from 46% to 63%, while the number of patients assigned a lung cancer clinical nurse specialist varies from 36% to 100%.
The proportion of patients receiving active treatment under the age of 65 in England is 77%, compared to 20% for people over 80 - nearly four times higher.
The number of patients being diagnosed with advanced lung cancer varies from 11% to 76%.
In the UK, the number of men diagnosed with lung cancer has decreased by 11% over the last 10 years.
At the same time, however, the number of women diagnosed with the disease has increased by 17%.
But people diagnosed with lung cancer can still enjoy trips abroad thanks to lung cancer travel insurance.
Dr Mick Peake, chairman of the UKLCC's clinical advisory group, claims the UK is not where it should be when it comes to lung cancer.
He says survival rates compare poorly with other major cancers and lag seriously behind other European countries.
The predicted five-year survival rate of patients diagnosed in England in 2013 is almost double (16%) what it was 10 years ago (9%), but this is still 10 times lower than the five-year survival rates for breast cancer.
In light of its report, the UKLCC wants to see lung cancer given more attention. It is pressing policymakers to ensure the disease is appropriately prioritised in the implementation of the new five-year cancer strategy.
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