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England’s national cancer referral guidelines recommend that patients attending general practice with unexplained symptoms possibly caused by lung cancer, such as persistent cough, shortness of breath, and weight loss, have a chest X-ray promptly (within 14 days) to aid timely diagnosis. Only 35% of patients with lung cancer in this study had a chest X-ray within the recommended 14 days; and time between attending general practice with symptoms and having an X-ray was longer among people who smoke, females, and older patients. This research highlights a potential source of delayed lung cancer diagnosis and could inform initiatives aiming to achieve earlier diagnosis and improve outcomes.

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