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Delays in the diagnosis of lung cancer occurred because patients failed to recognise symptoms as serious and warranting medical attention

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Q How might patients with lung cancer have influenced the timing of diagnosis?


Structured and semistructured interviews.


2 outpatient cancer centres in the UK.


A quota sample of 22 patients 43–82 y of age (55% men) with lung cancer. All but 1 patient were previous or current smokers. 7 patients had potentially curable disease.


Patients participated in structured and semistructured interviews. Most were interviewed within 3 days to 1 month of diagnosis. Patients were asked about events leading up to their diagnosis, and key events were recorded on a time line; this was followed up by specific questions about each symptom. Interviews were tape recorded and transcribed verbatim.


All patients had experienced symptoms for …

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  • For correspondence: Dr J Corner, School of Nursing and Midwifery, University of Southampton, Southampton, UK. j.l.corner{at}

  • Source of funding: Department of Health, UK.