Survival rates following lung cancer surgery are continuing to rise as the number of operations to treat the disease increases, finds a new report published by the Royal College of Physicians (RCP) and the Society for Cardiothoracic Surgery in Great Britain and Ireland (SCTS).

The number of people living longer than 90 days after surgery has risen from 95.5 to 96.2 percent over two years from 2012 to 2014, showing a consistent improvement that "is encouraging", according to the report. For 30-day survival the figures have stayed level at 97.9 percent.

The data also show that the number of operations to treat lung cancer increased 16 percent between 2013 and 2014, with a year-on-year rise in surgical interventions from 4,895 in 2013 to 5,657 in 2014.

Recent advances such as minimal access surgery, regional anaesthesia and Enhanced Recovery After Surgery (ERAS) programmes have increased the possibility of surgery for patients previously unable to have it, which may explain the increase in the number of operations performed, the report notes.

The findings show "an impressively high level of post-operative survival and it is reassuring to see that this kind of surgical treatment, although often complex, is now widely available to patients suffering with this common type of cancer," commented Dr Ian Woolhouse, senior clinical lead on the National Lung Cancer Audit (NLCA).

Lung cancer app
Meanwhile, Cancer Research UK announced the launch of a new smartphone app designed to help guide doctors determine the next steps for patients who have small masses of tissue in their lungs - known as pulmonary nodules, which are usually harmless but can be cancerous and need treatment.

The app, developed by the charity in partnership with the British Thoracic Society, gives doctors quick and easy access to guidelines alongside risk and growth calculators, "turning the mobile phone into a powerful way to accurately manage nodules."

The app should help clinicians "quickly and accurately identify" who is at risk from cancer and needs further investigations while avoiding unnecessary testing and worry for patients with nodules which are likely to be benign, CR UK noted.