Survey highlights 'worrying' lung cancer care delays

In collaboration with the Press Association

Nearly half of lung cancer patients say that they have experienced care delays at some point since their diagnosis, a new report suggests.

It highlights a 'worrying' divide between the care patients hope to receive and what may actually be delivered.

"It is crucial that we make sure patients receive prompt treatment and are fully involved in their care decisions" - Martin Ledwick, Cancer Research UK

The report, launched during Lung Cancer Awareness Month, was compiled by the UK Lung Cancer Coalition (UKLCC), which includes Cancer Research UK.

The coalition's poll of more than 400 patients and their carers found that 46 per cent of people with lung cancer had experienced delays at some stage of their care.

The report demonstrates that only two thirds (64 per cent) of patients thought they had received a prompt hospital referral. It also found that 57 per cent of the patients polled had not received accurate information about their diagnosis.

Coalition chairman Mr Richard Steyn said: "Despite 95 per cent of respondents citing prompt referral to hospital as a priority, our survey revealed that there are still too many patients facing unacceptable care delays. This is putting lives at risk."

The UKLCC has made a series of recommendations for health and social care organisations to take a more 'patient-centred approach' to lung cancer care.

They hope that more patients will receive a personalised care plan with providers setting out the steps they plan to take to improve patient experiences.

Just nine per cent of lung cancer patients survive their disease for at least five years. The coalition want to double lung cancer survival over the next decade.

Dr Mick Peake is chairman UKLCC clinical advisory group. He said understanding what matters most to lung cancer patients and comparing that to their actual experiences was key to improving the care they received.

Martin Ledwick, Cancer Research UK's head information nurse, said: "Lung cancer is the biggest cause of cancer deaths and it is crucial that we make sure patients receive prompt treatment and are fully involved in their care decisions.

Not only is Cancer Research UK championing early diagnosis we also provide a wealth of patient information through our website and helpline (0808 800 4040) to help people make informed decisions."

As well as Cancer Research UK, the UKLCC also includes the British Lung Foundation and a number of other cancer charities.

Copyright Press Association 2013