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New lung cancer guides target improved outcomes

Two new, national guides that aim to drive better outcomes and care for all people affected by lung cancer were released by Cancer Australia today. Lung cancer is the leading cause of death from cancer in Australia with an estimated 25 people dying every day from the disease in 2018.

“All lung cancer patients, regardless of where they live, should have the benefit of the best care and have the best possible experience. These resources distil the essential elements of what that care should be and how to deliver it,” said Dr Helen Zorbas CEO Cancer Australia.

Separate resources have been designed for health professionals and consumers, which share the goal of achieving optimal patient outcomes.

Delivering best practice lung cancer care for health professionals contains evidence-based, best practice information, strategies, tools and resources to support clinicians in providing consistent, high quality care for people affected by lung cancer.

“I encourage all those involved in lung cancer care in Australia to implement and use these guides as part of a national coordinated effort to improve lung cancer outcomes.” Dr Zorbas said.

The resources build on the Lung Cancer Framework: Principles for Best Practice Lung Cancer Care in Australia, which support the uptake and use of the Principles for best practice care: patient-centred care; timely access to evidence-based pathways of care; multi-disciplinary care; coordination, communication and continuity of care; and data-driven improvements in lung cancer care.

To empower patients to actively participate in their own care, Getting the best advice and care, a guide for those affected by lung cancer provides information about what the principles will mean to them and what they can do better engage with health care professionals and make informed evidence-based decisions.

Dr Zorbas said the guides articulate the clear benefits to patients of implementing each of the principles –from improving survival to reducing anxiety and depression.

Releasing these resources during Lung Cancer Awareness Month serves as a timely reminder that anyone experiencing symptoms such as a persistent cough lasting 3 weeks or more, coughing up blood, a chest infection that won’t go away, or a changed cough should visit a doctor.

Although lung cancer mostly occurs in people over 60 years, it can affect people of any age, regardless of whether they smoke. It is estimated that in 2018, 12,741 people will be diagnosed with lung cancer in Australia.

The development of Lung Cancer Framework: Principles for Best Practice Lung Cancer Care in Australia and these new resources by Cancer Australia was guided by systematic and exacting reviews of the highest quality evidence and incorporates learnings and experiences from people affected by lung cancer. A national demonstration project was undertaken, along with consultation with health professionals and consumers, supported by Cancer Australia’s Lung Cancer Advisory Group.

For more information:

Delivering best practice lung cancer care