U.K. body calls for better use of CT to avoid missed cancers

2021 09 13 18 08 1880 Lung Ct Images 400

The U.K. Healthcare Safety Investigation Branch (HSIB) has published its latest findings on delays resulting from missed detection of possible lung cancer on chest x-rays of patients seen in primary care.

Lung cancer is increasing in people who have never smoked, and media messaging highlighting the close link between lung cancer and smoking, as well as the often nonspecific symptoms of lung cancer, have created a significant diagnostic challenge for general practitioners, according to HSIB.

Although a chest X-ray is the recommended first test to assess whether a patient may have lung cancer, these images are difficult to interpret, and about one in five cancers are missed, the group stated.

A CT scan should be requested if there is uncertainty regarding pathology instead of a lateral chest x-ray. If in exceptional circumstances a radiologist requests a lateral chest x-ray, the same radiologist should provide the report, the HSIB said.

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