Immediate chest X-ray for patients at risk of lung cancer presenting in primary care: randomised controlled feasibility trial

Richard D. Neal*, Allan Barham, Emily Bongard, Rhiannon Tudor Edwards, Jim Fitzgibbon, Gareth Griffiths, Willie Hamilton, Kerenza Hood, Annmarie Nelson, David Parker, Cath Porter, Hayley Prout, Kirsty A Roberts, Trevor Rogers, Emma Thomas-Jones, Angela Tod, Seow Tien Yeo, Chris N. Hurt

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)
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Background: Achieving earlier stage diagnosis is one option for improving lung cancer outcomes in the United Kingdom. Patients with lung cancer typically present with symptoms to general practitioners several times before referral or investigation. Methods: We undertook a mixed methods feasibility individually randomised controlled trial (the ELCID trial) to assess the feasibility and inform the design of a definitive, fully powered, UK-wide, Phase III trial of lowering the threshold for urgent investigation of suspected lung cancer. Patients over 60, with a smoking history, presenting with new chest symptoms to primary care, were eligible to be randomised to intervention (urgent chest X-ray) or usual care. Results: The trial design and materials were acceptable to GPs and patients. We randomised 255 patients from 22 practices, although the proportion of eligible patients who participated was lower than expected. Survey responses (89%), and the fidelity of the intervention (82% patients X-rayed within 3 weeks) were good. There was slightly higher anxiety and depression in the control arm in participants aged >75. Three patients (1.2%) were diagnosed with lung cancer. Conclusions: We have demonstrated the feasibility of individually randomising patients at higher risk of lung cancer, to a trial offering urgent investigation or usual care.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)293-302
Number of pages10
JournalBritish Journal of Cancer
Issue number3
Early online date17 Jan 2017
Publication statusPublished - 31 Jan 2017


  • lung cancer
  • early diagnosis
  • health economics
  • chest X-ray
  • NICE
  • RCT
  • symptoms
  • cough

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