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Crucial Information Required for Urgent Suspected Cancer (2 week wait) Referrals for Lung

Where clinically appropriate (in about 90% of cases), patients referred on an urgent suspected cancer pathway referral for lung cancer are triaged directly to CT, in order to rapidly establish the level of suspicion of malignancy. However, in order for the required contrast to be administered it is a prerequisite to have a valid (within three months) eGFR result for the patient. This is essential as, whilst contrast agents are an extremely safe group of drugs and adverse side effects rarely develop, CT contrast materials can cause kidney damage in patients with poor kidney function.

The investigations section of the ‘Pan-London suspected cancer referral forms (2016)’ for lung patients has a space for the eGFR result (noted as ‘renal function’), but this is not consistently being completed at present. It can then take a significant time for us to make contact with patients and for them to attend the hospital site for a blood test. 

In order to optimise the lung cancer patient pathway it is therefore crucial to always provide eGFR results within the two week wait referral. If the patient does not have an up-to-date eGFR result (within the last three months) please could the GP arrange this blood test in parallel with sending the referral, noting that results are pending in the investigations section of the referral form.

Reducing time to diagnosis of lung cancers leads to more timely treatments, and earlier interventions extend survival and improve quality of life.