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Concern over lack of lung cancer surgeons

There are not enough specialist surgeons to treat lung cancer in the UK.

A report from the UK Lung Cancer Coalition (UKLCC) says there are "insufficient" specialists to serve the UK's multi-disciplinary lung cancer teams.

There are only 70 specialist thoracic surgeons supporting more than 200 teams, the report found.

In addition to the shortage of surgeons, it claims specialist lung cancer nurses are overstretched.

"Multi-disciplinary teams (MDTs) have been at the heart of delivering improved care for many cancers," the report states.

"However, in the UK there are insufficient specialists to service effectively the large number of lung cancer MDTs, of which there are currently well over 200."

The report also found some medics hold a "pessimistic and outdated" view of patient outcomes.

It noted: "Some healthcare professionals still have a pessimistic and outdated view of what outcomes can be achieved for patients with lung cancer. This is compounded by patients with low expectations who may be reluctant, lack information, or be too poorly to demand better care."

Richard Steyn, chair of the UKLCC and consultant thoracic surgeon, said: "Poor MDT performance is hindering patient survival."

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