In numbers: Lung cancer in Scotland

Sir Alex Ferguson is backing the Detect Lung Cancer Early campaign

Sir Alex Ferguson is backing the Detect Lung Cancer Early campaign

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Lung cancer incidence rates in Scotland are among the highest in the world with around 4000 Scots a year killed from the disease.

Deaths from the condition are also twice as common than any other type of cancer, according to figures released by the Roy Castle Lung Cancer Foundation (RCLCF).

Roy Castle, presenter of the long-running BBC show Record Breakers, before carving the world's largest haggis. Castle died from lung cancer in 1994, having already helped establish the lung cancer charity which carries his name

Roy Castle, presenter of the long-running BBC show Record Breakers, before carving the world's largest haggis. Castle died from lung cancer in 1994, having already helped establish the lung cancer charity which carries his name

More than 5000 new cases were diagnosed in 2013 alone. Only 8.7 per cent of lung cancer patients survive longer than five years, the third worst survival rate in Europe behind Wales and Bulgaria.

Lung cancer diagnoses are highest in Glasgow at almost a third higher than the Scottish average.

The RCLCF has launched a new online Smart Map which details the variations in care of lung cancer patients in hospitals north of the border, based on research by the National Lung Cancer Audit.

It follows a major public awareness campaign launched by the NHS last year to increase early detection of the disease.

We hope the new Smart Map helps support improvement in lung cancer services

Lorraine Dallas, Roy Castle Lung Cancer Foundation

It is fronted by Sir Alex Ferguson, who lost both his parents to lung cancer, and stresses the importance of not ignoring a persistent cough which has not cleared after three weeks.

Lung cancer survival rates are significantly increased if the disease is detected at an early stage, with the five-year survival rates for when it is detected at stage one or two almost 20 times better than for those whose disease has progressed to stage four by the time it is diagnosed.

The RCLCF research also highlighted variations in how often patients received tests to determine their lung cancer type, 65.4 per cent in South Glasgow compared with the Scottish national average of 72.6 per cent.

Patients in South Glasgow were also less likely to receive surgery at 13.9 per cent compared with patients in North Glasgow at 17.8 per cent.

Comparatively, the figures show significantly greater access to specialist nurses for patients treated in the Borders, at 100 per cent, and Forth Valley, at 95.1 per cent, than the 43.1 per cent in Dumfries and Galloway.

To address the disparities, RCLCF has called for variations in service provision to be investigated locally and for appropriate strategies for improvement to be implemented to ensure patients receive the best treatment and care wherever they live.

Lorraine Dallas, director of patient support at RCLCF said: “We hope that the new Smart Map helps support improvements in lung cancer services throughout Scotland and in key regions such as Greater Glasgow. While variations in care exist, and in many cases, for legitimate reasons, the Smart Map enables patients to ask why and to work with healthcare professionals to improve the care they receive.”

To address these differences, RCLCF calls for variations in service provision to be investigated locally and for appropriate strategies for improvement to be implemented to ensure patients receive the best treatment and care wherever they live.

The lung cancer Smart Map has been developed to allow people to review standards of lung cancer services in their region and to compare local standards with national averages. The resource includes the option to directly compare one region with another to determine where the best outcomes have been achieved. It is hoped that this information will further support lung cancer patients in their discussions with healthcare professionals and will enable them to make informed decisions to ensure that they receive the best care available.

Dr Ian Woolhouse, senior clinical lead at the National Lung Cancer Audit, said: “The launch of the new Smart Map is a valuable expansion of the data the National Lung Cancer Audit has collected. By highlighting best practice and enabling the public to better understand the performance of services, this new resource can support further improvements to the quality of lung cancer care in the UK.”

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