All Party Parliamentary Group for Respiratory Health: Inquiry into Lung Cancer

1 July 2021

We need your Help!

The All-Party Parliamentary Group for Respiratory Health (APPG) is conducting an inquiry into lung cancer.

During the COVID pandemic, the halting of the lung cancer screening pilots and restricted access to diagnostic tests have contributed to a 75% drop in urgent lung cancer referrals. This is especially worrying for the long-term outcomes for patients with the fastest progressing cancers such as lung cancer, with a defined life expectancy for which any delay can have life-threatening consequences.

The Long-Term Plan highlighted early diagnosis as a key strategy to improve outcomes for cancer patients. The plan names cancer as one of the four key clinical areas for improvement and included an ambition to increase the proportion of cancers diagnosed at stages 1 and 2 from 50% to 75% by 2028. To achieve this the plan states that focus will be placed on:

  • Greater awareness of the symptoms of cancer
  • Accelerating access to diagnosis and treatment
  • Maximising the number of cancers identified through screening

The enquiry will also be looking at the case for screening and our inquiry will be informed by the positive outcomes of the NELSON trial and the interim data from the SUMMIT trial run by UCL in London.

The group will also consider the report by Professor Sir Mike Richards, the former Cancer Director, on the current cancer screening programmes and diagnostic capacity. His independent review called for the introduction of community diagnostic hubs, a doubling of CT scanning capacity and a comprehensive equipment renewal programme, which should result in a further increase in CT volumes.

As normal service is gradually resumed following the pandemic, we will assess the steps necessary for post-COVID recovery and what more needs to be done to restore the diagnosis, referrals, and treatment rates beyond pre-COVID levels.

The APPG is engaging with expert stakeholders, such as UKONS, to better understand the impact of COVID on respiratory health outcomes and lung cancer in particular.

Objectives for the inquiry

  • To investigate the current state of lung cancer in the UK and consider the need for a national screening programme
  • To evaluate the specific effects of COVID on screening, testing, referrals and general treatment and move to accelerate these beyond pre-pandemic levels
  • To look at how best to increase capacity to accelerate catch-up
  • To consider a national NHS Action Plan for lung cancer

The enquiry has called for written evidence. This will be followed by the publication of a policy report with recommendations for the government to help to realise their long-term ambitions on lung cancer.

The report will summarise the results of the inquiry and as part of the inquiry, recognised expert stakeholders in fields relating to lung cancer, including industry, patient advocacy groups, clinicians, and patients, will be invited to submit written evidence. As one of the leading stakeholders the APPG have formally invited UKONS to submit written evidence to the inquiry. As we value the opinion of our members, we would like cancer nurses, specifically those working with lung cancer, to complete the attached survey. This will only take a minute or two and will help us formulate a response that represents your views

The policy report will be launched in the House of Commons and shared widely among stakeholders and government.

To access the short survey please click here