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New guidelines that are due to be implemented in full across the health service have been developed to help healthcare professionals with identification, staging and treatment of patients with lung cancer.

Over 20,000 people are diagnosed with invasive cancer annually in Ireland and, with an average of over 1,800 deaths each year, lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer deaths in both sexes.

The Minister for Health, Simon Harris, and the Department of Health have confirmed their commitment to extending and implementing the NCEC National Clinical Guidelines.

Minister Harris commended the progress that has occurred under the National Cancer Strategies, commenting: “I see this as a critical step towards the delivery of consistent, safe, multi-disciplinary evidence-based lung cancer care across the country.

“This guideline will help healthcare workers provide care based on the best available evidence. It has been informed by a full public consultation and a review by two international experts”.

The Chair of the Guideline Development Group, Dr Marcus Kennedy said: “Although public health policies may reduce smoking rates in Ireland, the incidence of lung cancer is currently increasing in Ireland in both men and women due to advancing age, better detection and a reflection of historical smoking trends.

“This guideline, which is the first national guideline for the diagnosis and treatment of lung cancer, sets a standard nationally, to enable healthcare professionals to deliver safe and effective care and treatment while monitoring their individual, team and organisation’s performance”, she added.

The Minister launched the new National Clinical Effectiveness Guideline, led by the Health Service Executive’s (HSE) National Cancer Control Programme (NCCP) and quality assured by the Department’s National Clinical Effectiveness Committee (NCEC).