Postcode Lottery For Lung Cancer Patients

The Roy Castle Lung Cancer Foundation team has just returned from the House of Commons after the launch of its new report 'Explaining Variations in Lung Cancer in England'.

The report found that your chance of surviving England’s biggest cancer killer depends on where you live in the country with more people diagnosed with lung cancer and more people dying from the disease in the north compared to the south. It also found significant differences in how lung cancer patients are treated in different parts of the country.

We were delighted to see so many MPs from across the country attending the launch to find out about lung cancer in their constituencies.

We hope the report will act as a real catalyst to bring about real change and help save lives.

Key findings of the report include:

1.There is a threefold difference in mortality with Liverpool PCT having the highest rates of mortality compared with Herefordshire PCT which had the lowest.

2.The average length of survival for a lung cancer patient after diagnosis is only 188.5 days but varies from 150 days for patients living in Arden Cancer Network, which includes Coventry, Warwickshire and Worcestershire, to 224 days for people living in the Thames Valley area.

3.Your chance of surviving for up to a year after your diagnosis also varies depending on where you live. Patients living in Kensington and Chelsea PCT have the highest one year survival rate at 43.7% compared with Herefordshire PCT, where only around 15 out of 100 lung cancer patients survive for 1 year.

4.People living in deprived areas are less likely to have received chemotherapy treatment.

5.Surgery rates are low across the country with just 19.9% of lung cancer patients receiving surgery in the best performing area, North East London Cancer Network, where a patient is more than twice as likely to receive cancer surgery as a patient in Sussex Cancer Network.

6.The chance of seeing a specialist lung cancer nurse also depends on where you live, ranging from 13.6% of patients diagnosed with lung cancer in Kent and Medway Cancer Network compared with 90.4% in Dorset.

7.The chance of receiving treatment, such as surgery, radiotherapy or chemotherapy, also varies across England. Seven out of ten patients received active treatments in the Peninsula Cancer Network, which covers Devon and Cornwall, compared with only four in ten patients in the Mount Vernon Cancer Network, which encompasses Hertfordshire, Luton and South Bedfordshire.

8. There is a significant difference across the country in the number of days a patient spent in hospital after being admitted as an emergency. In Kensington and Chelsea PCT, patients spent around 16 days in hospital compared with only 5 days for patients in Great Yarmouth and Waveney PC.

We'd love to hear more about your experiences in your part of the country, both the good and the bad. Why not write your own blog about it and share it with the group's members?

A full copy of the report can be downloaded by visiting roycastle.org, or call 0151 254 7200 to request a copy.

1 Reply

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  • The stats in this report are quite alarming. Maybe they will change with the introduction of drugs like Iressa.

    They are however based on averages, my mother in law died 1 day after dianosis, someone else could live for 10 years based on these 2 senarios the stats would say there was a 50% chance of survival. It also depends on the stage at diagnosis, Maybe some of the areas mentioned need to have a greater 'awareness of symptoms' programme to encourage people to visit there GP sooner. Do we really know the reasons for there being such variation?

    Personnally, It was 10 months from my first visit to my gp until I was finally diagnosed in March.

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