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Lung cancer patterns of care in south western Sydney, Australia
  1. S K Vinod1,
  2. G P Delaney1,
  3. A E Bauman2,
  4. M B Barton3
  1. 1Cancer Therapy Centre, Liverpool Health Service, Liverpool BC, NSW 1871, Australia
  2. 2School of Community Medicine, University of New South Wales, Australia
  3. 3Collaboration for Cancer Outcomes, Research and Evaluation, Liverpool Health Service
  1. Correspondence to:
    Dr S K Vinod, Cancer Therapy Centre, Liverpool Health Service, Locked Bag 7103, Liverpool BC, NSW 1871, Australia;


Background: Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer deaths in New South Wales (NSW). There is a significantly higher incidence of lung cancer in the South Western Sydney Area Health Service (SWSAHS) than the NSW average. The aim of this study was to document patterns of lung cancer care for SWSAHS residents.

Methods: SWSAHS residents diagnosed with lung cancer in 1993 and 1996 were identified from the NSW Central Cancer Registry and their medical records reviewed.

Results: The study population comprised 527 patients of median age 68 years. 12% did not see a lung cancer specialist, 9% did not have a pathological diagnosis, and 28% did not receive any active treatment throughout the course of their illness. The median survival was 6.7 months and the 5 year overall survival was 8% (95% CI 6 to 10). The rates of pathological diagnosis, specialist referral, and treatment decreased with older age and poorer performance status.

Conclusions: The management of lung cancer patients in SWSAHS is suboptimal. A significant proportion of patients are not receiving treatment. To improve patient care and outcomes, all lung cancer patients should be referred to a specialist for management, ideally in a multidisciplinary setting. Both consumers and general practitioners need to be educated about options available for the management of lung cancers and ageist and nihilistic attitudes need to be overcome.

  • lung cancer
  • chemotherapy
  • patterns of care
  • radiotherapy
  • surgery
  • survival

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  • Conflict of interest: none.

  • Funding: none.

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