What factors influence GPs’ decision to request imaging for possible lung cancer?

Who’s involved?

Project Summary

Lung cancer survival in the UK is poor by comparison with other advanced economies. This is likely to be partly due to detection of lung cancer at later stages of disease.  In the UK chest x-ray remains the predominant first line investigation for lung cancer, whilst other systems make more extensive use of computed tomography (CT).  However there is little published evidence describing what factors lead GPs to consider requesting investigations for lung cancer and whether GPs would find it acceptable to have greater access to request urgent CT (‘direct access CT’ or DACT).

This project will explore what factors lead GPs to consider the possibility of lung cancer in their patients, such as their symptoms or background (e.g. socio-economic factors), how they make a decision as to whether to investigate the possibility of lung cancer and what tests they use and what factors that might dissuade them from arranging such investigations.  To do this we will interview approximately 15 GPs.  The interviews will be transcribed and the transcripts will be analysed and themes will be identified and described. We hope that the research will allow us to understand what factors trigger GP actions to investigate for lung cancer, this may in turn help generate understanding of what type of patients may be overlooked, who perhaps could benefit from investigation.

We also hope that this work will identify what factors dissuade GPs from investigating lung cancer (‘barriers’) as if these are understood then they may be addressed. In addition we hope that understanding if CT is an acceptable test for GPs or what would be required to make this test more acceptable, will help support the development of direct access CT, which has much greater accuracy for diagnosing lung cancer.

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