The publication of the latest NHS lung cancer audit (pdf) provides some of the best data yet on how people with lung cancer are treated around the UK.
This audit is extremely important – it allows individual NHS trusts and cancer networks to compare their record on delivering treatment with that of others across the UK, and as we’ve said before, there’s growing evidence that sharing data improves the quality of care.
In fact, lung cancer is one of several types of cancer for which there is a formal national audit (the others being bowel, head and neck, breast, oesophagus and stomach). The lung audit was also one of the first, aimed at helping doctors and managers improve cancer outcomes and services, and began data collection in earnest in 2004.
The latest audit has exceeded expectations, generating one of the most complete national datasets on lung cancer in the world.
It covers patients first seen at a hospital in 2009. All but one NHS trust participated, and data were collected on a total of 37,637 patients – around 95 per cent of expected cases.