In the news: Lung cancer

Diagnosis and screening of lung cancer has been mentioned in the news lately as it is thought that opportunities to diagnose the disease are being missed by doctors, resulting in patients passing away just a short amount of time after having lung cancer identified.

NHS Choices explains how in the UK, lung cancer affects over 41,000 people each year, and is the type of cancer that causes the most deaths. It tends to affect older generations the most, and around 90% of cases are caused by smoking.

BBC News explains that as opportunities to correctly diagnose the disease are being missed, one in three people diagnosed with lung cancer die within 90 days of receiving a diagnosis. The story explains how work conducted by scientists at the University of Nottingham attempted to explain why this was happening in the UK, leaving the country behind other European countries in terms of diagnosis and treatment of the disease.

The study found that even if a surgery was to carry out a high number of chest x-rays, this did not necessarily result in a reduced number of early deaths from the cancer.

The symptoms of lung cancer are described by NHS Choices as a persistent cough and breathlessness, coughing blood, aches or pains when coughing or breathing, and weight loss or tiredness that can’t be explained. In its very early stages, the symptoms aren’t usually present, but normally develop at some point.

This story is preceded by another from BBC News, which suggests plans should be made to screen for lung cancer in older smokers in the UK. Although this is presented as a viable option to help encourage early diagnosis of the disease, the report highlights how this type of test can come with certain negatives such as radiation exposure and falsely positive results.

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