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Increased investment in thoracic surgical expertise increased UK lung cancer resection rate

Increased investment in specialist thoracic surgical expertise can lead to a significant rise in the lung cancer resection rate, based on data from England between 2008 and 2009 that was presented at the 14th World Conference on Lung Cancer in Amsterdam, hosted by the International Association for the Study of Lung Cancer (IASLC).

In England, lung cancer resection is less common than in other countries, and is performed by both cardiothoracic and pure thoracic surgeons. Researchers tested the hypotheses that resection rate was related to the caseload and local provision of pure thoracic surgeons, and that expansion of thoracic surgery could increase the resection rate.

In 2008, 31 units provided the thoracic surgery service to 33 cancer networks comprising 174 trusts. Of these, 13 units (42%) had two or more pure thoracic surgeons. In 2009 this grew to 18 units (58%).

In 2008, there were 15,774 recorded cases of confirmed non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC). Of these, 2,240 (14.2%) patients underwent surgical resection. In 2009, following the new consultant appointments, the number of histologically confirmed NSCLC increased by 13.8%, from 15,774 to 17,948 cases. The overall resection rate increased by 46% (from 14.2% to 20.7%).

In trusts where a pure thoracic surgeon was present in more than two-thirds of the lung cancer multidisciplinary team meetings, the NSCLC resection rate was significantly higher than those with lower attendance (median 14.7% vs 11.7%). Networks that experienced an expansion in their number of pure thoracic surgeons during this period experienced a significant and larger increase in resection rate than those who did not (median 66.3% vs 19%).

Dr. David Waller of Glenfield Hospital in Leicester, United Kingdom, will discuss the research with journalists during a WCLC press conference at 10 a.m. CET on Wednesday, July 6. For individual interview requests, please call Renée McGaw at +31 20 549 3413 between July 3-7 in the press office at Amsterdam RAI, Amsterdam, the Netherlands. You may also email her at

About the IASLC:

The International Association for the Study of Lung Cancer (IASLC), based in Denver, Colorado, U.S.A., is the only global organization dedicated to the study of lung cancer. Founded in 1972, the association's membership includes more than 3,000 lung cancer specialists in 80 countries.

IASLC members promote the study of etiology, epidemiology, prevention, diagnosis, treatment and all other aspects of lung cancer and thoracic malignancies. IASLC disseminates information about lung cancer to scientists, members of the medical community and the public, and uses all available means to eliminate lung cancer as a health threat for the individual patients and throughout the world. Membership is open to any physician, health professional or scientist interested in lung cancer.

IASLC publishes the Journal of Thoracic Oncology, a valuable resource for medical specialists and scientists who focus on the detection, prevention, diagnosis and treatment of lung cancer. To learn more about IASLC please visit

Renée McGaw | EurekAlert!
Further information:

Further reports about: Cancer IASLC NSCLC cancer networks lung cancer thoracic surgeon thoracic surgery

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