Overview

Lung cancer

Lung cancer is the most common cause of cancer death in Australia. It is often diagnosed late because symptoms can be vague or there may be no symptoms experienced in the early stages of the disease.

Fortunately, the landscape for the management of lung cancer is changing rapidly with advances in research and technological developments bringing new hope through novel screening, diagnostic and treatment approaches. However, the experience of patients with lung cancer is one of a forgotten disease characterised by low public awareness and negative stereotypes. This contributes to delays in diagnosis, lack of support systems and inequitable access to best practice and new treatment approaches.

In particular, stigma towards people with lung cancer plays a major role in delays to diagnosis. Health professionals need to be aware of the symptoms of lung disease and the increasing trend of people presenting both with and without smoking as a risk factor. Making assumptions about a diagnosis based only on the presence of risk factors, such as smoking, causes delays in diagnosis and can affect patient health and well-being.

Lung Foundation Australia provides a range of evidence-based resources and initiatives to support early diagnosis and best practice treatment and management of lung cancer.

Holistic care: supporting MDTs

Australian guidelines highlight the need for rapid referral of patients with suspected or proven lung cancer to a hospital and specialist linked with a lung cancer multi-disciplinary team (MDT) service.

The MDT approach is the standard of care in cancer management and has been shown to improve survival, quality of life, delivery of best practice care in line with evidence-based guidelines, coordination of care, provision of information, support for patients and patient satisfaction.

Lung Foundation Australia’s directory of dedicated lung cancer MDTs enables a referring clinician to locate lung cancer MDTs, summarises information about the available diagnostic and treatment services and, where available, links to the MDT’s referral pathway.

Australian Lung Cancer Conference

This initiative supports further advancements in lung cancer treatment and care by providing a national platform for clinical education, collaboration, implementation and dissemination of lung cancer research findings. Held biannually since 2006, the conference is attended by over 400 national and international health professionals. The next conference will held in 2020.

Australia New Zealand Lung Cancer Nurses Forum

The Australia New Zealand Lung Cancer Nurses Forum (ANZ-LCNF) is a group of passionate nurses with a common focus of improving patient care, health care delivery and outcomes for lung cancer patients, their families and carers.

Lung Cancer Consultative Group

The Lung Cancer Consultative Group of Lung Foundation Australia is a multidisciplinary group of lung cancer health professionals and patients that provide strategic advice and guidance on lung cancer initiatives and activities.

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