Symptoms and Reason for a Medical Visit in Lung Cancer Patients

Francisco-Javier Gonzalez-Barcala, José-Antonio Falagan, Jose-Maria Garcia-Prim, Luis Valdes, Jose-Martin Carreira, Antonio Pose, Juan-Carlos Canive, Diana Anton, Maria-Teresa Garcia-Sanz, Amalia Puga, Enrique Temes, Rafael Lopez-Lopes


Background: Patients with lung cancer usually present with symptoms at the time of diagnosis, but it is common that neither the doctor nor the patient initially associate them with the possibility of a malignant tumour.
Objectives: The aim of our study is to analyse the symptoms of patients with lung cancer and the relationship with the personal
characteristics or the oncological disease.
Material and Methods: A retrospective study was conducted on all patients diagnosed with lung cancer in the Pontevedra Health Area over a period of three years. The symptoms presented by the patient, the reason for the consultation and the agreement between both or any factors associated with either of the two are analysed.
Results: A total of 358 patients, with a mean age of 68.7 years, and of whom 87% males, were included in the study. The most common initial symptoms were, constitutional in 30.4% of the cases, cough in 20.9% of cases, and in third place was chest pain, which was referred to by 12% of the patients. The most frequent reason for the consultation was dyspnea in 22.1% of patients, an incidental finding in 15.4%, and haemoptysis in 12.8%. There was a moderate association (correlation coefficient = 0.495) between the initial symptoms and the consulting symptom.
Conclusions: A high percentage of patients with lung cancer had symptoms associated with the tumour at the time of diagnosis, even in early stage disease.
Keywords: Lung Neoplasms/diagnosis; Spain.

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