Your browser is no longer supported

For the best possible experience using our website we recommend you upgrade to a newer version or another browser.

Your browser appears to have cookies disabled. For the best experience of this website, please enable cookies in your browser

We'll assume we have your consent to use cookies, for example so you won't need to log in each time you visit our site.
Learn more

Call to boost CNS numbers to improve lung cancer diagnosis

  • 1 Comment

Hospital trusts will need to boost their specialist nurse numbers to enable the introduction of a raft of new high-quality molecular diagnostic tests for all lung cancer patients, a report has warned.

Lung cancer clinical specialist nurses (CNSs) should be increased to a level where no trust has less than two and the case load is no more than 80 new patients per year, according to the document.

“More needs to be done to ensure timely and rapid access diagnostic testing for lung cancer patients”

Mick Peake

This level of increase will ensure patient care is “fully integrated” and will allow the CNS to be a “critical point” of communication across the service, it stated.

The report, launched today by the UK Lung Cancer Coalition, said the NHS had been “slow to respond” to the rapid advances in molecular diagnostics.

New treatments for lung cancer based on molecular tests were emerging rapidly and leading to improvements in survival for many patients, noted the UKLCC.

However, it claimed that limitations in rapid access to high quality tests were denying some lung cancer patients access to the most accurate diagnosis and the best possible treatments.

The report highlighted the recent launch of seven NHS genomic testing labs across England and the government’s ambition to increase the proportion of early cancers diagnosed by 2028.

“It is often the case that band 7 nurses are performing administrative roles”

UKLCC report

But it said currently only 3% of pathology departments had enough staff, there was a wide variation in the quality of tissue samples received and significant delays in turning around test results.

Among its recommendations, the coalition called for a national, molecular diagnostics quality assurance programme and increases in funding to address the “critical workforce issues”.

A “strong workforce is central to an effective diagnostics process”, said the report, highlighting that every year more people were referred for diagnostic tests and services were “struggling to keep up”.

“The development of new therapies has meant that many patients are now living longer, which should be celebrated,” it said.

“This is, however, also having a direct impact on the workload of healthcare professionals, in particular, lung cancer CNSs,” noted the report.

“CNSs are having to look after patients who survive longer as well as taking on new cases,” it said. “CNSs can help to drastically improve the quality of life for people with cancer through assisting with decision-making, symptom management and emotional support.

It added: “They should have 80 new cases per CNS. However, it is often the case that band 7 nurses are performing administrative roles, just to move patients along the pathway – an ineffective use of their time and expertise which should be focussed on patient care.”

Dr Mike Peake

Dr Mike Peake

Mike Peake

Commenting on the report, Professor Mick Peake, clinical lead at UKLCC and a respiratory expert at the University of Leicester, said: “Molecular diagnostics is central to lung cancer diagnosis and treatment.

“If we are to deliver a world-class lung cancer service more needs to be done to ensure timely and rapid access diagnostic testing for lung cancer patients, wherever they live in the UK,” he said.

“The UKLCC is committed to doubling five-year lung cancer survival to 25% by 2025 – and universal and rapid access to high quality molecular diagnostics is a vital element in our ability to reach that target,” he added.

The report – titled Molecules matter: Turning the science of molecular diagnostics in lung cancer into a practical service for all patients – was launched today at the British Thoracic Oncology Group annual conference.

It is a companion to the previous UKLCC report Millimetres Matter: Implementing the National Optimal Lung Cancer Pathway, which was launched in November 2018, as previously reported by Nursing Times.

  • 1 Comment

Readers' comments (1)

  • Hello everyone!
    I was diagnosed with stage 4 lung cancer in 2011, and that year we were excited to be celebrating my six year survivor-ship anniversary – a survival that was not remotely contemplated in 2016. Since i diagnosis i have learn a lot about lung cancer, the first few years were confronting.
    I had no clue that my LUNG (left) was responsible for these combined symptoms! Fatigue, chest, neck and shoulder pain. My life changed in just one breath when my Doctor diagnosed me with advanced lung cancer that was INOPERABLE, INCURABLE and TERMINAL. I will always remember the pain and tears from my husband’s face as well as my daughters and my close friends. Like many other people this was not the first time that my life was impacted by CANCER. In 2002 my sister was diagnosed with leukemia. Fortunately for us she was diagnosed at an late stage and she pass away. So when my doctor gave the news about me, We all put in mind positive energy to fight against it, Because I was not going to let that put an end to my smile. Well now i lives a normal healthy and active lifestyle thanks to the “Dr Kpomosa Home of relief” a traditional herbal doctor which my husband doctors prescribed him in other to save me from dying SO many good people have lost there life because of greed, The government and some others will preach against herbal herbs because it only one true cure, because they make profit with pills because the more you treat the more money you spent, Thanks to my husband Doctor who told us this vital truth.

    I want to advice anyone out there going through pains and sorrow with Cancer to reach out to "Dr. kpomosa home of relief" on Facebook and I guarantee you that you will be cured. You can also reach him via: WhatsApp: +1(850)677-1291 .
    Or email: dr.kpomosa@dr.com

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

Have your say

You must sign in to make a comment

Please remember that the submission of any material is governed by our Terms and Conditions and by submitting material you confirm your agreement to these Terms and Conditions. Links may be included in your comments but HTML is not permitted.