Scheduling General Practitioner Appointments is a Barrier to Lung Cancer Diagnosis

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Researchers from the London Cancer Alliance and King’s College London in London, England, recently presented their findings regarding emergency-diagnosed lung cancer at the National Cancer Research Institute Cancer Conference in Liverpool, England.

The study was aimed at approximately 130 patients who received a lung cancer diagnosis after visiting one of seven hospitals in south and west London for an emergency. The patients who received their lung cancer diagnosis during an emergency hospital visit listed the following reasons for not visiting their doctor earlier: lack of ability to make an appointment, lack of ability to see their usual doctor, lack of confidence in their doctor, and anxiety or stress related to a potential diagnosis.

Eighteen percent of the patients studied indicated that they did not realize the severity of their symptoms, which also can be considered a factor when understanding why a doctor visit wasn’t scheduled.

In addition, according to the presented research, approximately 75% of patients studied consulted with a general practitioner about their symptoms and approximately one fifth had visited their general practitioner at least three times. About 23% of the patients study were indeed referred to the hospital, but many presented with an emergency before their scheduled appointment due to their illness.

Being that almost 40% of patients with lung cancer in England are diagnosed after an emergency hospital visit, this study provides important insight into the reasons that patients aren’t diagnosed earlier. By understanding why patients with lung cancer do not visit their general practitioner, oncology professionals can develop methods for assisting these patients and decreasing the percentage of patients who are diagnosed in an emergency setting. 

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Patients who received lung cancer diagnosis during an emergency hospital visit listed reasons.

Many patients whose lung cancer is diagnosed as an emergency in hospital reported difficulties in previously seeing their GP, according to research presented at the National Cancer Research Institute (NCRI) Cancer Conference in Liverpool today.

The study, carried out by researchers from the London Cancer Alliance (LCA) and King's College London , investigated around 130 patients who were diagnosed with lung cancer after attending as an emergency at one of seven hospitals in south and west London.

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