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  • New research shows unequal on Victoria's lung cancer treatment

    Author: AAP

Research presented at the Australian Lung Cancer Conference shows the times to access treatment vary greatly between private and public health care.

A Victorian diagnosed with lung cancer has almost double chances to be on treatment within 14 days when in private care than it has in the public health system.

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New research released on Thursday by Lung Foundation Australia at the Australian Lung Cancer Conference 2020 held in Melbourne shows inequities between both systems.

These variation in times also occurs between regional and metropolitan centres, the research shows.

Sixty-one per cent of private patients in 2018, for instance, received treatment within 42 days of referral, as opposed to just a 26 per cent of public patients.

"The findings of this study could have serious implications not just for Victoria but for Australia as a whole," Lung Foundation Australia CEO Mark Brooke said.

"If you're a Victorian diagnosed with lung cancer today, the quality of care you receive and therefore your chances of survival might be heavily influenced by whether you live in the city or the country, your age, or if you have public or private health care."

The Victorian Lung Cancer Registry, based at Monash University, claimed much of this variation could be due to the absence of available, specialist lung cancer nurses.

Lung Foundation Australia launched a petition on Wednesday calling on the federal government to fund 15 specialist lung cancer nurses in this year's budget.

More than 9000 Australians are expected to die from lung cancer in 2020, and experts say early detection is key to effective treatment.

Following in the footsteps of national screening programs for bowel, breast and cervical cancer, a bid to develop a lung cancer assessment plan began in December.

New funding could transform the future of personalised care and treatment administered for lung cancer patients across Australia, the government hopes.

A new clinical program announced in January will assess the impact of customised healthcare in lung cancer treatment.

The federal government has committed $5 million to help fund the program.


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