Early-stage lung cancer has a good prognosis, but early detection is crucial. Lung cancer is the leading cause of death from cancer in both men and women. Māori have a much higher incidence and mortality.
The persisting cough in the patient with COPD ± smoker is a common presenting symptom. The 8 symptoms1 are:
- Cough >3 weeks
- Chest or shoulder pain
- Weight loss >10%
- Unresolving chest infection
- Symptoms suggestive of metastasis (liver, bone, brain, skin). In some parts of the country, if the CXR is suggestive of a curable lesion the chest CT can be bypassed but refer them to the respiratory team (refer local pathways). The e-referral should state “high suspicion of cancer”. In those cases, the team may arrange a PET-CT scan.