Lung cancer X-rays miss diagnosis target

Published: 22 February 2021 X-ray

National cancer guidelines in England recommend that patients presenting with symptoms of possible lung cancer have a chest X-ray within 14 days - but only 35% of lung cancer patients are investigated in that time according to new research.

Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer-related deaths in the UK, with most patients presenting with late stage disease when treatment outcomes are largely unsuccessful.

GPs face a diagnostic challenge with lung cancer because most patients present to general practice months before diagnosis with common, non-specific symptoms such as persistent cough, shortness of breath and weight loss.

Better understanding how these guidelines are used in primary care is needed to determine their feasibility, said the researchers. The study, published in the British Journal of General Practice, evaluated 2,102 lung cancer patients in England and how long they waited for a chest X-ray after first presenting to a GP with symptoms.

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