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NICE guidance on lung cancer provides a detailed breakdown of symptoms and their significance, including clarification of what counts as


The guidelines advise that any patient whose symptoms persist for longer than three weeks should be referred for a chest X-ray.

NICE has also warned GPs to retain a high level of suspicion in patients with warning signs of lung cancer even if a chest X-ray proves negative.

GPs are advised to refer without delay patients with symptoms who are current or ex-smokers, have COPD or have a history of cancer or asbestos exposure.

Guideline chair Dr Ivan Cox said the the guidelines on X-ray were now much more specific.

Dr William Hamilton, clinical research fellow in the department of primary health care at the University of Bristol, said the updated guidance was 'an important step'.

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