Personal Views

Treating lung cancer in the NHS market

BMJ 1997; 315 doi: (Published 06 December 1997) Cite this as: BMJ 1997;315:1548
  1. Hilary Pickles, director of public health
  1. Hillingdon

    The improvement of cancer services is a high priority with the profession and the government. There now seems to be an opportunity to bring survival rates up to the best of those outside Britain and to provide the type of patient sensitive service for which lobby groups are clamouring. How will this affect the treatment of lung cancer?

    Throughout Britain purchasers are working with clinicians to define cancer units and centres and outlining the types of services needed. If five year survival is the key outcome measure recognition of potentially operable cases is a top priority in lung cancer. But for the majority of people with an inoperable disease proper emphasis is needed on quality of life, the involvement of those with sensitive communication skills, the cautious use of specific treatments, and the palliative approach. Improvements are needed in the present services and these improvements will cost more.

    Since the report from the Expert Advisory Group on Cancer was not accompanied by any promise of new or earmarked funding, the …

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