Treatment delays cause lung cancer deaths

A British study of lung cancer patients found that delays in diagnosis and treatment are causing them to die earlier.

More than 200 patients from 24 hospitals took part in the study. Results include the following:

· 21% of patients were unconcerned about lung cancer symptoms that they thought were the flu.

· 29% of patients who experienced up to four symptoms of the disease delayed going to the doctor for up to four months.

· 23% of patients were referred to a hospital by their doctor for an X-ray within a week.

· 15% of patients were referred to a hospital by their doctor for an X-ray within one to six months.

Patients complained they were told about their cancer in an insensitive way and felt their follow-up treatment was not adequate. Some doctors who took part in the study complained that they were inadequately informed of their patients' progress and treatment details.