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Neumología y cirugía de tórax

Print version ISSN 0028-3746


BAEZ-SALDANA, Renata et al. Clinical profile that facilitates the suspicion of lung cancer for a timely diagnosis. Neumol. cir. torax [online]. 2022, vol.81, n.2, pp.86-93.  Epub Aug 28, 2023. ISSN 0028-3746.


Lung cancer (LC) is usually diagnosed late. Understanding how patients present at the time of their diagnosis it is useful for early identification of the disease.


To identify the clinical profile of patients with lung cancer, allowing to suspect the diagnosis and to propose an algorithm for early referral.

Material and methods:

Prospective case series of lung cancer. The general characteristics, smoking, exposure to wood smoke, time from symptom onset to diagnosis and the type and frequency of symptoms were studied and their association with pleural effusion was analyzed.


The median age was 65 years, 55% were men. History of smoking 50.2%, exposure to wood smoke 43.9%. The median time from symptom onset to diagnosis was 120 days and in 94% it was more than 3 weeks. The most frequent symptoms were cough 88%, cough for 3 weeks or more 94.6%, dyspnea 75.2%, chest pain 50%, weight loss 70%, and hemoptysis 22%. Malignant pleural effusion 44.9%. Dyspnea, chest pain and oxygen saturation < 88% simultaneously were associated with pleural effusion OR (95% CI) 7.54 (3.28-17.34).


Adult patients who report cough for 3 weeks or more and/or any of the following symptoms: dyspnea, chest pain, weight loss, hemoptysis, or fatigue that are not explained by established diagnosis, should be evaluated by chest x-ray for early referral to a specialized unit.

Keywords : lung cancer; symptoms; diagnosis; pleural effusion; early diagnosis lung cancer.

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