Presentation of lung cancer in primary care

D P Weller, M D Peake, J K Field

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Survival from lung cancer has seen only modest improvements in recent decades. Poor outcomes are linked to late presentation, yet early diagnosis can be challenging as lung cancer symptoms are common and non-specific. In this paper, we examine how lung cancer presents in primary care and review roles for primary care in reducing the burden from this disease. Reducing rates of smoking remains, by far, the key strategy, but primary care practitioners (PCPs) should also be pro-active in raising awareness of symptoms, ensuring lung cancer risk data are collected accurately and encouraging reluctant patients to present. PCPs should engage in service re-design and identify more streamlined diagnostic pathways-and more readily incorporate decision support into their consulting, based on validated lung cancer risk models. Finally, PCPs should ensure they are central to recruitment in future lung cancer screening programmes-they are uniquely placed to ensure the right people are targeted for risk-based screening programmes. We are now in an era where treatments can make a real difference in early-stage lung tumours, and genuine progress is being made in this devastating illness-full engagement of primary care is vital in effecting these improvements in outcomes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)21
Journalnpj Primary Care Respiratory Medicine
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 22 May 2019


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