A new report published by Lancet Oncology has found that age, general wellbeing and other factors can affect 30-day mortality following chemotherapy for breast and lung cancer.
The report was published using systemic anti-cancer treatment (SACT) data, which gives new insights about the real-world chemotherapy treatment of patients in the NHS in England.
In 2014 alone, the dataset included more than two million records for more than 160,000 different patients.
The population-based, observational study considered all 23,228 women with breast cancer and 9,634 patients with the most common form of lung cancer treated with chemotherapy in England in 2014. It examined how many of them died within 30 days of the start of their recent chemotherapy.
Public Health England’s (PHE) National Cancer Registration and Analysis Service and Cancer Research UK co-authored the paper ‘30-day mortality after systemic anticancer treatment for breast and lung cancer in England’.
The study found that there were 569 breast and 720 lung cancer deaths within 30 days of those patients being given chemotherapy for palliative care.
There were 41 breast cancer patients and 53 lung cancer patients who died after chemotherapy that was intended to cure them.
PHE cancer lead Dr Jem Rashbass said: “We are privileged in England to have access to such high quality cancer data.
"This world-leading database will allow us to monitor the quality of chemotherapy treatment given to all patients across the NHS in near real-time.
“Studies like this help improve our understanding of how people are affected by chemotherapy in the real world and most importantly, help us to treat patients better.”
Furthermore, it was found that the majority of hospitals had no curative intent deaths at all, and older patients with advanced disease who also had other illnesses and a worse performance status were more likely to die.
Seven hospitals were found to be treating breast cancer and five treating lung cancer to cure where the risk-adjusted death rates were outside the confidence limits expected.
Cancer Research UK chief clinician professor Peter Johnson said: “This is the first time this type of data has been collected and analysed so extensively.
“This was a huge undertaking but it now means we have a way to measure if the health service is getting better at delivering the right drugs to the right patients.”
Image: The study found that there were 569 breast and 720 lung cancer deaths within 30 days of those patients being given chemotherapy. Photo: courtesy of Crown Copyright.