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‘No improvement’ in treatment times for lung cancer patients

A number of concerns have been outlined in a recent draft report on lung cancer services, the Medical Independent  can reveal.

The draft of the 2016-2018 Lung Cancer Report was discussed at a meeting of the National Cancer Control Programme’s (NCCP) executive management team on 7 October, the minutes of which were seen by this newspaper.

According to the report, there has been “no improvement” in time to treat this cohort of patients and “maximum waiting times are being pushed out”.

“Surgical numbers are increasing in all four units and will meet and match NCRI [National Cancer Registry Ireland] projections.”

The report also stated that radiology wait times are a concern in some centres.

“There have been improvements in Cork,” according to the minutes. “Will need to consider how to use the data in the report to bring about improvements in the hospitals.”

The report found that clinics are “running in alignment with demographics” with cases discussed at multi-disciplinary team meetings.

There has also been “a good staging of patients” and improvements in the quality of surgery.

“Once finalised the report can be shared with DDG [Deputy Director General] and the Department of Health and will inform discussions at cancer review meetings,” the minutes state.

An early diagnosis lung project campaign will be launched on 27 April 2020.

The media campaign will cover press release/radio/billboard ads with specific location advertising.

Earlier this year, the Irish Cancer Society (ICS) launched a lung cancer action plan.

According to the plan, the Department of Health with stakeholders, including the ICS. need to implement the recommendations of the Tobacco Free Ireland Programme Plan 2018-2021.

The ICS also recommended additional investment for tobacco control and smoking cessation measures.

Collating data on smoking prevalence of lung cancer patients and developing a smoking cessation service tailored to cancer patients, and in particular lung cancer patients, was necessary, the ICS stated.

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