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Lung Cancer

Volume 501: debated on Thursday 26 November 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for Health what assessment he made of the finding of the National Lung Cancer Audit for 2007 that only 51 per cent. of lung cancer patients receive any form of active treatment; and if he will make a statement. (301629)

The quality of the submitted data has improved compared with previous years and, overall, measures of process and outcome of care appear to be improving. The National Cancer Director has encouraged all networks and trusts to review their own data and to take action, especially if they fall below the helpful benchmarks set out at the end of the report. The NHS Information Centre has offered trusts a local action planning toolkit to help them do this effectively.

To ask the Secretary of State for Health what steps his Department is taking to assist the Lung Cancer Awareness Month initiative. (301631)

We are committed to raising awareness of the signs and symptoms of cancer, and this is a key focus of the “Cancer Reform Strategy”, published in December 2007. A copy has already been placed in the Library.

We know that awareness weeks and months for specific cancer types can be an effective way of raising awareness of cancer. As part of this year’s Lung Cancer Awareness Month, we have provided funding of £15,000 for lung cancer awareness leaflets to be sent to all pharmacies in England for public distribution. This is the second year that we have provided funding for these leaflets.

A stakeholder group has been formed to address lung cancer awareness at a strategic level. The Lung Cancer Awareness Action and Advisory Group is working to raise awareness of lung cancer.

Through the National Awareness and Early Diagnosis Initiative, formally launched in November 2008, we are working to raise awareness of the signs and symptoms of cancer, including lung cancer, amongst the public and health professionals. This work includes: the development of key messages on a number of cancers (key messages for lung cancer are available on the NHS Choices website at:;

carrying out a baseline national cancer symptom awareness survey; commissioning an audit of cancer diagnoses in primary care; and providing funding for a number of cancer awareness campaigns.

As part of the Initiative, almost £5 million has been allocated to the national health service to support cancer networks and primary care trusts in implementing local services that will improve awareness of cancers, including lung cancer, and promote early diagnosis.

The Department is investing in a campaign to raise awareness of the signs and symptoms of lung, breast and bowel cancers to encourage people with symptoms to seek help earlier than they do currently. The Improvement Foundation’s Healthy Communities Collaborative is working in 20 of the most deprived areas of the country to target those most at risk and is working with local people to develop and test methods of awareness raising.

In addition, the Department and the Football Foundation are jointly funding the Ahead of the Game programme. Ahead of the Game is a one-year pilot programme that uses the appeal of football to raise awareness of lung, bowel and prostate cancers in men aged 55 and over.