In the UK lung cancer is not the commonest cancer but it is the commonest cause of death from cancer in both men and women.
Survival rates from lung cancer in the UK are not as good as other developed nations. The International Cancer Benchmarking Partnership (ICBP) has compared survival from lung cancer in UK nations, Denmark, Sweden, Norway, Canada and Australia, showing 5 year survival rates of 8.7% in England compared to 17.0% in participating Australian states and 18.4% in participating Canadian provinces.
Survival from lung cancer is primarily determined by the stage of disease at presentation. Late presentation has been proposed as a major contributory factor to poorer survival in the UK.
Early stage disease (classed as stage I and II) is generally suitable for potentially curative treatment. In Somerset only 10% of lung cancer patients are diagnosed at stage I or II. This is lower than the national figure of nearly 20%.
The route a patient takes to diagnosis has been recognised as having an impact on lung cancer survival. Of patients diagnosed with lung cancer after presenting to hospital in an emergency only 9% live for a year compared to 39% for those referred from their GP to outpatient clinic.
We would like to redesign lung cancer pathways to help diagnose cancer earlier and would like to find out about the current service from as many different people as possible to understand how things can be improved.
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