Award-winning lung cancer service helping even more patients with NHS England support

An NHS Challenge Prize winning lung cancer service is already making an even bigger difference to patients, and helping doctors all over England develop the same innovative techniques.

Patients at Barnet Hospital are now able to have small lung tumours diagnosed and cells destroyed in a single hospital visit without surgery, after Royal Free Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust was awarded the £100,000 Cancer Challenge Prize for its innovative 30-minute lung biopsy service.

The funding is also being used to support a training symposium which will help lung cancer teams from all over England to introduce these techniques.

The biopsy service already means that lung cancer is diagnosed more quickly, meaning people can start their treatment at an earlier stage and have a greater chance of survival.

Coupled with the newly-introduced non-surgical radiofrequency ablation (RFA) therapy, the service means that some people who would usually be too ill for a traditional biopsy or lung surgery can now have their cancer diagnosed and treated safely.

The procedures have been developed by radiologists Dr Sam Hare and Dr Ash Saini at Royal Free London NHS Foundation Trust.

Dr Hare said: “We hope this will improve the prognosis for patients who are not well enough to undergo surgery. This new way of both sampling and destroying small lung tumours, in a single hospital visit, is a very effective way of treating cancer and is another example of how doctors at the Royal Free London NHS Foundation Trust continue to develop pioneering treatments for UK lung cancer patients.

“I’m delighted that the continued support of NHS England, as well as others like the British Medical Association, which named us their “Cancer Team of the Year” just last month, is helping us to replicate our work across England.

“The first Pulmonary Oncology, Biopsy and Ablation Symposium (POBAS) will be held at Royal Free Hospital in November, where we will discuss our techniques and pathways in detail and give clinicians hands-on training in using the portable chest drains that allow us to dramatically reduce the time needed for biopsy.”

NHS England’s National Clinical Lead for Innovation Professor Tony Young said: “The work of the team at Barnet Hospital is an excellent example of the kind of sea-change that can be achieved for patients when innovation is embraced. Their further development of the service, coupled with the new POBAS training programme, will make treatment even more quick, convenient and effective for patients at Barnet Hospital and beyond, and demonstrates again that they are extremely worthy winners of the NHS Innovation Challenge Prize.”