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Facilitating early diagnosis of lung cancer amongst primary care patients: the views of GPs

Wagland, R.; Brindle, L.; James, E.; Moore, M.; Esqueda, A.I.; Corner, Jessica


R. Wagland

L. Brindle

E. James

M. Moore

A.I. Esqueda

Jessica Corner


Early diagnosis of lung cancer (LC) is a policy priority. However, symptoms are vague, associated with other morbidities, and frequently unrecognised by both patients and general practitioners (GPs). This qualitative study, part of a larger mixed methods study, explored GP views regarding the potential for early diagnosis of LC within primary care. Five focus group discussions (FGDs) were conducted with GPs (n = 16) at primary care practices (n = 5) across four counties in south England. FGDs were audio-recorded, transcribed verbatim and analysed using a framework approach. Four broad themes emerged: patients’ reporting of symptoms; GP response to symptoms; investigating LC, and; potential initiatives for early diagnosis. GPs reported they often required high levels of suspicion to refer patients on to specialist respiratory consultations, and concerns of ‘system overload’ were prevalent. Greater access to more sensitive diagnostic investigations such as computed tomography, was argued for by some, particularly for symptomatic patients with negative chest X-rays. GPs challenged current approaches to promoting earlier diagnosis through national symptom awareness campaigns, arguing instead that interventions targeted at high-risk individuals might be more effective without burdening services already under pressure. Further work is needed to identify primary care patients who might most benefit from such targeted interventions.


Wagland, R., Brindle, L., James, E., Moore, M., Esqueda, A., & Corner, J. (2017). Facilitating early diagnosis of lung cancer amongst primary care patients: the views of GPs. European Journal of Cancer Care, 26(3), Article e12704.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Apr 6, 2017
Online Publication Date May 11, 2017
Publication Date May 23, 2017
Deposit Date Jun 8, 2017
Publicly Available Date Jun 8, 2017
Journal European Journal of Cancer Care
Print ISSN 0961-5423
Electronic ISSN 1365-2354
Publisher Wiley
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 26
Issue 3
Article Number e12704
Keywords Early diagnosis, general practice, lung cancer, symptom awareness, symptoms
Public URL
Publisher URL


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