Published: 17 January 2022
Authors: Fraser J H Brims, Chellan Kumarasamy, Jessica Nash, Tracy L Leong, Emily Stone and Henry M Marshall
Source: This abstract has been sourced from NZ Respiratory Research Review Issue 205
Introduction Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer death in Australia and has the highest cancer burden. Numerous reports describe variations in lung cancer care and outcomes across Australia. There are no data assessing compliance with treatment guidelines and little is known about lung cancer multidisciplinary team (MDT) infrastructure around Australia.
Methods Clinicians from institutions treating lung cancer were invited to complete an online survey regarding the local infrastructure for lung cancer care and contemporary issues affecting lung cancer.
Results Responses from 79 separate institutions were obtained representing 72% of all known institutions treating lung cancer in Australia. Most (93.6%) held a regular MDT meeting although recommended core membership was only achieved for 42/73 (57.5%) sites. There was no thoracic surgery representation in 17/73 (23.3%) of MDTs and surgery was less represented in regional and low case volume centres. Specialist nurses were present in just 37/79 (46.8%) of all sites. Access to diagnostic and treatment facilities was limited for some institutions. IT infrastructure was variable and most sites (69%) do not perform regular audits against guidelines. The COVID-19 pandemic has driven most sites to incorporate virtual MDT meetings, with variable impact around the country. Clinician support for a national data-driven approach to improving lung cancer care was unanimous.
Discussion This survey demonstrates variations in infrastructure support, provision and membership of lung cancer MDTs, in particular thoracic surgery and specialist lung cancer nurses. This heterogeneity may contribute to some of the well-documented variations in lung cancer outcomes in Australia.
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