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Med J Aust. 2000 Apr 3;172(7):321-4.

Reported management of lung cancer in Victoria in 1993: comparison with best practice. Anti-Cancer Council of Victoria Lung Cancer Study Group.

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Department of Medical Oncology & Clinical Haematology, Monash Medical Centre, VIC.



To determine recent patterns of management of lung cancer in Victoria in order to stimulate interest in the development of Australian consensus guidelines.


A cross-sectional survey of doctors responsible for the care of an incident series of lung cancer patients in 1996-1997.


1054 people diagnosed with primary lung cancer in the State of Victoria between 1 January 1993 and 31 July 1993 and notified to the Victorian Cancer Registry.


Method of diagnosis; tumour characteristics; factors affecting management plan; first-line and subsequent treatment; outcome; and patients' current status.


Questionnaires were completed for 868 eligible patients (82%): 635 (73%) diagnosed with non-small-cell lung cancer, 124 (14%) diagnosed with small-cell lung cancer, and 109 (13%) with no histological diagnosis. Chest x-ray (814 patients; 94%) and computed tomography (CT) of the chest and abdomen (589 patients; 68%) were the most common investigations, and was the only diagnostic procedure in 48 patients (6%). Treatments were radiotherapy alone or in combination (385 patients; 44%), surgery alone or in combination (196 patients; 23%), chemotherapy alone or in combination (152 patients; 18%); 215 patients (25%) received no antitumour therapy. 243 patients (28%) were treated initially with curative intent. A further 399 (46%) were treated initially with palliative intent, and in 219 (55%) of these good symptom control was achieved. For 427 patients (49%) tumour size was not recorded. While 23% of non-small-cell patients had limited disease, only 8% were investigated with mediastinoscopy. Only four patients (13%) with limited-stage, small-cell lung cancer had combined-modality treatment. There was little use of adjuvant chemotherapy or neoadjuvant therapy. The five-year crude survival rate was 11%.


The demographics of lung cancer in Victoria are similar to other population-based studies. Patterns of management are not uniform, and are inconsistent with current published guidelines.

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