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Gordon Henderson MP finds out about the benefits of lung cancer nurses

11th July 2010

Local MP Gordon Henderson last week met lung cancer Clinical Nurse Specialists (CNS) to find out about the contribution that can be made by nurses to all aspects of a patient’s treatment and care at an event in Westminster.

More than 39,750 people are diagnosed with lung cancer in the UK every year; 109 diagnoses every day. Feedback from patients shows that improving access to CNSs could make a significant difference to their experience of treatment and care. However, there is a worrying shortfall in access to CNSs which is concerning given the particularly complex needs of lung cancer patients.

Estimates suggest that the average newly diagnosed caseload of a lung cancer CNS can be as much as double that for some other common forms of cancer. The result is that there is only one lung cancer nurse in England for every 132 patients with lung cancer.

The National Lung Cancer Forum for Nurses (NLCFN) event launched a report that showcases the work of lung cancer Clinical Nurse Specialists and provides recommendations on how to improve lung cancer services and maximise the impact of nurses. The NLCFN provides education, a communication network and support and represents virtually all lung cancer Clinical Nurse Specialists in the UK.

Gordon Henderson MP commented:

‘I am conscious that Swale has an above average incidence of lung related illness and I was keen to find out what can be done to help sufferers. It is quite clear that one problem is that because of a natural fear some people are reluctant to come forward and admit that they might have lung cancer and I would urge anybody who thinks they might have the disease to see their doctor as soon as possible.

‘What people should understand is that there is help available and in particular I commend the work of lung cancer Clinical Nurse Specialists in supporting people with lung cancer. Whether it is helping patients to understand their diagnosis and prepare for treatment or supporting patients’ families, access to lung cancer CNSs is vital to help people manage life with their condition and to navigate the complex patient pathway’.

Liz Darlison, Chair of the NLCFN said:
‘Policymakers must recognise the important role that lung cancer Clinical Nurse Specialists make to the lives of patients with lung cancer and the need to address the deficit of these nurses. We must also maximise the effectiveness of lung cancer CNSs and ensure specialist expertise is targeted at addressing the unmet needs of patients and their carers’.

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