Lung cancer diagnosis and treatment statistics

Routes to diagnosis

'Emergency presentation' is the most common route to diagnosing lung cancer

Surgery Rate

Lung cancer patients receiving major surgical resection, 2006-10, England

 

Patient Experience

Lung cancer patients rating their care very good or excellent, 2014, England

More than a third (35%) of lung cancer cases in England are diagnosed after presenting as an emergency. Almost 9 in 10 (87%) of these cases with known stage are diagnosed late (stages III or IV).[2] 7 in 10 (70%) of emergency presentation cases are via Accident and Emergency (A&E), with the other cases coming via an emergency GP referral, inpatient referral or outpatient referral [3].

More than a quarter (28%) of lung cancer cases in England are diagnosed via the ‘two-week wait’ referral route.[1] Around a quarter (24%) of these cases with known stage are diagnosed early (stage I or II).[2]

Around a fifth (21%) of lung cancer cases in England are diagnosed following a routine or urgent GP referral (but not under the ‘two-week wait’ referral route).[1] Around a third (32%) of these cases with known stage are diagnosed early (stage I or II).[2]

There are variations in routes to diagnosis by sex, age, deprivation and ethnicity.[4]

Lung Cancer (C33-C34), Percentage of Cases by Route to Diagnosis, Adults Aged 15-99, England, 2012-2013

Lung Cancer (C33-C34), Percentage of Cases by Stage for each Route to Diagnosis, Adults Aged (15-99), England, 2012-2013

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'14-day / Two-week wait'

England meets the standard for their country on the percentage of patients first seen by a specialist within two weeks of urgent GP referral for suspected cancer.[1]

'Two-week wait' supports early diagnosis as spotting cancer early is important for improving survival, so it is important that patients with potential cancer symptoms are referred promptly.

'31-day wait'

England, Wales and Scotland meet the standard for their country on the percentage of patients that receive their first cancer treatment within 31 days of a decision to treat, while Northern Ireland does not meet the standard for their country.[1-4]

The speed at which patients receive their first treatment can have a positive outcome on their clinical outcome, so it is important that patients with cancer symptoms are treated promptly.

'62-day wait'

None of the countries in the UK meet the standard for their country on the percentage of patients receiving their first definitive treatment for cancer within two months of a GP referral for suspected cancer.[1-4]

The speed at which patients receive their first treatment can have a positive outcome on their clinical outcome, so it is important that patients with cancer symptoms are treated promptly.

Cancer waiting times coding and standards are different in each country and so comparisons should not be made between countries, only each country against their own measures.

Lung Cancer, Waiting Times, UK countries, 2014-15

    England Wales Scotland Northern Ireland
'14-day wait': seen by specialist following referral Performance 96.2%      
Standard 93%      
Performance against standard Meets standard      
'31-day wait': receipt of first treatment following decision to treat Performance 98.4% 98.2% 99.2% 97.3%
Standard 96% 98% 95% 98%
Performance against standard Meets standard Meets standard Meets standard Does not meet standard
'62-day wait': receipt of first treatment following referral Performance 75.3% 88.1% 93.4% 71.3%
Standard 85% 95% 95% 95%
Performance against standard Does not meet standard Does not meet standard Does not meet standard Does not meet standard

Data not available for '14-day wait' in Wales, Scotland or NI.

References

  1. NHS England. Cancer waiting times(link is external).  Accessed May 2015.
  2. StatsWales. Cancer waiting times(link is external). Accessed May 2015. 
  3. ISD Scotland. Cancer Waiting Times(link is external). Accessed June 2015. 
  4. Department of Health, Social Services and Public Safety. Cancer Waiting Times(link is external). Accessed June 2015.

 

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A tenth (10%) of lung cancer patients receive a major surgical resection as part of their cancer treatment.[1]

The proportion of lung cancer patients receiving a resection varies with age, with fewer resections in the oldest age group (1% in those aged 85+) compared with the youngest (15% in those aged 15-54).[1]

Lung cancer (C33-34), Proportion of Patients Receiving a Major Surgical Resection, by Age, England, 2006-2010

References

  1. National Cancer Intelligence Network and Cancer Research UK. Major resections by cancer site, in England; 2006 to 2010 workbook (Version 2.0 - reissued June 2015). London: NCIN; 2015.
Last reviewed:

89% of lung cancer patients rate their care as ‘excellent’ or ‘very good’.[1] Patient experience varies with individual needs and concerns, which are influenced by many aspects of personal background, disease characteristics and the care environment.

90% of patients were given the name of a Clinical Nurse Specialist in charge of their care.[1] Being given the name of a Clinical Nurse Specialist in charge of a patients’ care is the factor most likely to be associated with high patient satisfaction scores.[2]

51% said they saw their GP once or twice before being told they had to go to hospital.[1] How often a patient sees their GP before being referred to hospital varies by cancer type depending on ease of diagnosis.[3]

For lung cancer the proportion that said they saw their GP once or twice before being told they had to go to hospital is lower than the average for all cancer patients.[1]

Spotting cancer early is important for improving survival so it is important that patients with potential cancer symptoms are referred for tests promptly.

Lung cancer (C33-C34), Patient Experience Survey, by Sex, England, 2014

Female Male Persons
Percentage of patients treated for cancer who visited their GP once or twice about the health problem caused by their cancer 50.3% 51.4% 50.9%
Percentage of patients treated for cancer who said they were given the name of a Clinical Nurse Specialist in charge of their care 91.2% 89.1% 90.1%
Percentage of patients treated for cancer who rated their overall care as excellent or very good 87.8% 89.7% 88.8%

Last reviewed:

Cancer Statistics Explained

See information and explanations on terminology used for statistics and reporting of cancer, and the methods used to calculate some of our statistics.

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