Leading the information revolution in cancer intelligence

A unique 20 year project to tackle the UK’s biggest cancer killer has become a “world leader in cancer intelligence”, according to a new report.

The National Lung Cancer Audit captures up to date information on almost every lung cancer case in the UK. It compares clinical practice at hospitals across the country, helping to identify problem areas and drive up standards of care for the disease, which kills 35,000 people every year.

The Roy Castle Lung Cancer Foundation has produced a report - Leading the information revolution in cancer intelligence: why the National Lung Cancer Audit is the key to transforming lung cancer outcomes - analysing the importance of the National Lung Cancer Audit.

Authors of the audit have credited it with:

  • increasing the number of patients who receive radiotherapy from 25% in 2008 to 30% in 2012
  • increasing the number of patients who have surgery from 10% in 2008 to 15% in 2012
  • increasing the number of patients who have chemotherapy from 27% in 2008 to 32% in 2012
  • increasing the number of patients who see a nurse specialist from 50% in 2008 to 80% in 2012

Dr Jesme Fox, medical director for Roy Castle Lung Cancer Foundation, said: “The journey from the early beginnings of the NLCA to its current status as a world leader in cancer intelligence has been a remarkable one.

“It has developed into an invaluable tool used on a daily basis to improve lung cancer care and save lives.

“It is vital that it continues to be resourced in the future and that the data it uncovers continue to be used to tackle lung cancer in the UK.”

Dr Mick Peake, clinical lead, National Lung Cancer Audit and National Cancer Intelligence Network, said: “The work of the NLCA is not done; there is still unacceptable variation in standards of care and in patient outcomes.

“We very much hope that the Government continues to recognise the value of programmes such as the NLCAand make the funding available for it to continue to drive up the quality of care for the large number of people who are unfortunate to fall victim to this disease.”

Dr Anita Donley, Clinical vice president at the Royal College of Physicians (RCP), supports the review from the Roy Castle Lung Cancer Foundation, published today, highlighting how vitally important the audit is to developing the care for patients with lung cancer.

“Lung cancer is a serious condition, with over 40,000 cases seen each year. The RCP believes audit can make a real difference in the care delivered to patients with lung cancer across the country and we support the RCLCF’s call for the National Lung Cancer Audit (NLCA) to continue.

"The wealth of data that is accumulated by the audit is vitally important for all aspects of planning, commissioning and delivering lung cancer care in the UK. For example, the NLCA’s data is used to inform clinical pathways for patients, it shapes importance guidance (for example from NICE) for doctors and healthcare professionals, and contributes to the development of indicators for CCGs.

"The RCP is a partner in the Improving Lung Cancer Outcomes Project (ILCOP), the quality improvement work that is part of NLCA, and we look forward to continuing to work in this area, to refine and develop the approach. In particular, we are keen to make sure the outputs from the audit are readily available and accessible to patients with lung cancer and their relatives.”

The audit is managed by the Health and Social Care Information Centre in partnership with the Royal College of Physicians and commissioned by the Healthcare Quality Improvement Partnership as part of the National Clinical Audit and Patient Outcomes Programme (NCAPOP).

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