In the United Arab Emirates (UAE), lung cancer (LC) was the third leading cause of deaths due to cancer in 2017. Around 80% of the patients in the UAE are diagnosed at a late stage, rendering the treatment less effective in improving survival outcomes. Lack of awareness of disease symptomatology, deficient screening initiatives, misdiagnosis, and delayed referral to the specialist are contributing factors for delayed diagnosis. Effective screening at a primary care setting can be crucial for early diagnosis, referral to specialists, and enhancing patient outcomes. It is important to establish screening and referral guidelines through which each suspected case can be identified and provided timely intervention. Although the international screening and referral pathway framework are comprehensive, several regional barriers need to be addressed before they can be adapted at the national level. A group of LC experts from the UAE deliberated on issues like delayed diagnosis of LC and strategic recommendations for overcoming the challenges. The discussion was based on the review of the published evidence, international and regional guidelines for screening and early diagnosis of LC. Herein, we present a guideline, endorsed by the esteemed panel of experts, for aiding early diagnosis and optimizing the management of LC in the UAE.
Keywords: United Arab Emirates; lung cancer; referral pathway; screening.