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Patients with lung disease delay seeking cancer advice

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This is the conclusion of a cross-sectional study involving 360 patients with newly diagnosed primary lung cancer.

The researchers identified that 50% had symptoms of lung cancer for more than 14 weeks before presenting to a medical practitioner. No significant difference was found in the time taken to consult a doctor in rural and/or deprived areas compared with urban and/or affluent areas.

Patients who lived alone, had a history of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and/or were long term smokers were more likely to delay seeking advise about symptoms.

Haemoptysis, new onset of shortness of breath, cough and loss of appetite were significantly associated with earlier consultations.

The authors concluded that the time between the onset of symptoms and consultation was long enough to affect prognosis.

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