Lung cancer for the non-respiratory physician

Clin Med (Lond). 2021 Nov;21(6):e578-e583. doi: 10.7861/clinmed.2021-0657.


Lung cancer continues to be the leading cause of cancer death globally. Delayed diagnosis is a major contributing factor to poor outcomes and remains a key challenge to overcome. While debate around the implementation of lung cancer screening for asymptomatic high-risk individuals continues, rapid access to relevant diagnostic tests is essential. The new National Optimal Lung Cancer Pathway describes 'diagnostic standards of care' in an effort to implement best practice, reduce variation and improve delays in diagnosis, staging and treatment of lung cancer. Lung cancer treatment continues to develop with new surgical techniques, radiotherapy options and more drugs being licensed as part of standard treatment. We provide an overview of the core lung cancer diagnostic steps, recognition and management of acute presentations as well as the latest treatment options.

Keywords: DSOCs; diagnostic standards of care; diagnostics; lung cancer.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Early Detection of Cancer / methods
  • Humans
  • Lung
  • Lung Neoplasms* / diagnosis
  • Lung Neoplasms* / therapy
  • Physicians*