A study at Nottingham University shows that family doctors need more help in recognizing lung cancer symptoms.
Lung cancer is one of the deadliest diseases on the prowl with 1 in 3 patients succumbing to the condition within 90 days of diagnosis. Over 40,000 patients are being diagnosed with lung cancer every year in the UK alone and this number is much higher when applied to around the world. A study conducted by Nottingham University found that patients who are at high risk of the disease are not being treated in time to battle the condition effectively because general physicians need more help in diagnosing it.
The study was published in the medical journal Thorax and its disturbing research concluded that 1 in every 10 lung cancer patients die within a month of being diagnosed while 1 in 20 are not diagnosed until they die. But what seems to be the main cause of worry is that these patients who were diagnosed late consulted their healthcare physician an average of five times in the months before succumbing to the condition. The research found that this goes against the common misconception that lung cancer patients are not seeking medical care early enough.
The key to seeking the appropriate medical attention for lung cancer is in identifying the symptoms of the condition early. The researchers went on to look into what exactly the symptoms of these deceased patients were and how they were misidentified. Diagnosing lung cancer from other lung conditions can be difficult without the appropriate tools that can help catch the disease. Early diagnosis is crucial in treating the condition rather than resorting to palliative treatment that is recommended to prevent the disease from spreading further.
Promoting the requirement of risk assessment tools that can detect lung cancer early is crucial because most general physicians only see about one new case of lung cancer every year. One of the tools that is helpful in this regard is a software that tracks the patient’s symptoms and lifestyle to give the GP a good idea of what is going wrong. The data used for the study was from The Health Improvement Network (THIN) which holds anonymous records from millions of primary care patients in the United Kingdom. A case study of 20,142 lung cancer cases between 2000 and 2013 at 444 different general practices was used.
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