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Finding lung disease early

Summary

Early and accurate diagnosis of lung disease is critical.

We can make a big difference by identifying more people at risk of lung disease earlier and making sure they get the right treatment and support when they need it.

Finding lung disease early

Right care, right time

Right care, right time
99%
people discharged within 1 hour after an ambulatory lung biopsy
1 million+
people living with undiagnosed COPD

What’s the issue?

People with suspected lung disease have to wait too long to be diagnosed. Too much time passes between appointments. A delayed or inaccurate diagnosis means people don’t get the treatment they need and can end up in hospital unnecessarily. For people with aggressive lung disease a delayed diagnosis means they can’t make the most of the time they have left.

How do we solve it?

  • We want everybody, from GPs to nurses and pharmacists, to know exactly what steps to take in possible cases of lung disease.
  • We need set waiting times for diagnosis and treatment of lung disease, just like other conditions, such as cancer.
  • We want health care professionals in different parts of the NHS to be able to share information quickly and accurately

Our vision for the future

We’ll see more people able to begin treatment earlier, with care designed to meet their needs and personal circumstances. For those diseases where we don’t yet have effective treatments, people will know what is wrong with them quickly and be able to plan the rest of their lives with the right support 

Our plan for identifying lung disease early

“If I had received help earlier, especially from respiratory physios, I am sure some of the damage and perhaps also the pseudomonas infections could have been avoided.”

Liz Ames, living with bronchiectasis and chronic pseudomonas infection

Finding lung disease early

Diagnosing and managing asthma

Diagnosing and managing asthma
1 million
people with difficult asthma in the UK
0.5%
people thought to have severe asthma are on the severe asthma registry

What's the issue?

Many patients with difficult or severe asthma don’t get the care and support they need. That’s because they are not referred to a specialist, who can give them the treatment and  advice they need to manage their condition.

How do we solve it?

  • We need a single, consistent guideline to diagnose and manage asthma.
  • Cases of difficult or severe asthma should always be referred to a specialist.

Our vision for the future

We’ll see more people with difficult or severe asthma able to manage their condition and do the things they want to do.

Our plans for asthma

Keeping lungs healthy

Identifying people

Identifying people
35%
lung cancers diagnosed in A&E
20%
fall in lung cancer deaths attributed to US National Lung Cancer Screening

What's the issue?

Many people live with lung disease without knowing why they feel unwell. By the time their condition is diagnosed they are too ill for treatment to be effective.

How do we solve it?

  • We need to target people likely to be at risk of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), including smokers and those with asthma.
  • We need a national lung cancer screening programme. There’s one in the US which has helped to reduce lung cancer deaths by 20%. At the moment in the UK, 35% of lung cancers are diagnosed in A&E.

Our vision for the future

We’ll see more people beginning treatment for COPD. We’ll see fewer people being diagnosed with lung cancer at an advanced stage.

Our plans for effective diagnosis

“I know I’ve got cancer and it is scary, but I’d rather know. I know what I’m dealing with and I’d rather know now than in a few months or years when it will be too late. I honestly feel as though this lung health check has saved my life.”

Michael Brady, living with COPD and lung cancer