BTOG – Finding ways to improve outcomes for lung cancer patients

Lung cancer is a tough opponent, so our doctors, nurses and researchers need to be up-to-date on all aspects of what is a rapidly changing area of medicine, in order to help them address the needs of patients and improve their outcomes.

Dr Sanjay Popat, Consultant Thoracic Medical Oncologist
Dr Sanjay Popat, Consultant Thoracic Medical Oncologist at the Royal Marsden Hospital and Honorary Clinical Senior Lecturer in the Molecular Genetics and Genomics Group at the National Heart and Lung Institute, Imperial College London

That is why the British Thoracic Oncology Group (BTOG) was set up, to create a community to exchange ideas, information and innovation and to foster the development of research.

BTOG also aims to ensure equitable access to optimal care for patients with all thoracic malignancies in the UK and Ireland. At Roy Castle Lung Cancer Foundation, we share those aims, and are very proud to be part of BTOG. We always take part in the annual meeting, and this year is no exception - the 2018 meeting is being held in Dublin this week.

Our Deputy Chief Executive, Mike Grundy, Director of Medicine, Dr Jesme Fox, Director of Prevention, Information & Support, Lorraine Dallas, and Head of Clinical & Research Projects, Jackie Tebbs, are all there, along with many of the leading researchers and health care professionals working in the field.

As the only UK charity dedicated solely to lung cancer, we believe it’s vital that we should be at the very heart of such a community of experts – after all, we are the ‘voice’ of lung cancer patients.

We simply can’t stress this enough: it can be all too easy to feel that, as a patient, no-one really listens to your concerns or values your opinion.

We are very much concerned with putting patients and their needs right at the centre of all we do. We ensure that the patient experience is included in every stage of the discussion.

This is an exciting time, with rapid developments in research and therapies. For example, new immunotherapy drugs are changing expectations for many patients with later stage lung cancer, and we are seeing real progress towards reliable and accurate blood tests that could identify the disease in its earliest stages.

"As the only UK charity dedicated solely to lung cancer, we believe it’s vital that we should be at the very heart of such a community of experts – after all, we are the ‘voice’ of lung cancer patients."

BTOG provides the ideal opportunity to bring together many of the brightest and best people who are working so hard to understand lung cancer better, to treat it better, and to provide better outcomes for patients.

Medical professionals are scientists: they are used to having their work, their views and their opinions challenged rigorously by their colleagues and their peers.

At the BTOG meeting, medics and researchers present their work, knowing they will be open to debate and scrutiny. This can all seem a bit daunting if you’re not used to seeing scientists in action – but these debates can prompt further, more focused research.

BTOG is not just a talking-shop – it can be a crucible for change, improvement – and, ultimately, better outcomes. We are there to ensure that the needs of patients and their families are always central to the debate. Yes, lung cancer is tough – but we have a strong team on our side.

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