LUNG cancer survival rates can be improved by increased sharing of best practice between different systems, according to researchers from Yale University, Connecticut, USA, and colleagues around Europe. This was the conclusion of a study which observed outcomes of older patients diagnosed with non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) in England and the USA.
USA and England
With lung cancer the leading cause of cancer deaths in wealthy countries in spite of declining mortality rates in recent years, the team undertook an assessment of care and survival rates in >170,000 patients aged 66 years or above from the USA (84,415) and England (86,978) diagnosed with NSCLC between the years 2008 and 2012. Areas covered in the analysis were patient characteristics, stage of cancer at diagnosis, treatment, and overall survival.
Stage of Diagnosis and Treatment
Disparities were found between the two countries: diagnosis occurred at the earliest stage of cancer (Stage 1) in 25% of the patients in the USA compared with 15% in England. Additionally, late diagnosis, at Stage 4, took place in 45% of patients in the USA and 52% of patients in England, respectively. In regard to care, 60% of the Stage 1-diagnosed patients from the USA received surgical treatment while this figure was 55% of their counterparts from England.
Variation in Survival Rates
These disparities appear to have contributed to a major variation in overall survival rates between the two countries. While only 19% of English lung cancer patients had survived 2 years following diagnosis, 31% of American patients were still alive at the same stage after diagnosis. The team stated it is now important to undertake further research to understand why the USA outperforms England in these aspects.
“Call to Action”
In the meantime, it is hoped that the research will encourage greater collaboration between the two countries that ultimately improves outcomes for lung cancer patients. “This should be a call to action in both countries to learn how we could improve care and learn from each other’s systems,” commented first author Anita Andreano, University of Milan-Cicocco, Milan, Italy. “We need to share ideas and best practices, so we can continue to reduce tobacco use, implement effective lung cancer screening programmes, and ensure access to high-quality care.”
James Coker, Reporter
For the source and further information about the study, click here.