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Anales del Sistema Sanitario de Navarra

Print version ISSN 1137-6627


FERNANDEZ, V. et al. Analysis of lung cancer cases diagnosed in an Internal Medicine Department: from January 2001 to September 2006. Anales Sis San Navarra [online]. 2007, vol.30, n.3, pp.353-362. ISSN 1137-6627.

Background. Lung cancer is one of the main health problems in the developed world. Our aims were to determine the symptomatic time prior to a specific diagnosis, the clinical and histological characteristics of the cases of lung cancer diagnosed in a department of internal medicine, and to analyze the survival factors. Material and methods. We studied retrospectively all patients diagnosed with lung cancer in the internal medicine department in the period between January 2001 and September 2006 reviewing clinical records. We specifically recorded age, gender, smoking habit, time and type of symptomatic presentation, radiological manifestations, methods of histological diagnosis, tumour staging, and performance status measured by ECOG classification. We also evaluated the factors associated with the survival time. Results. In this period 124 patients were diagnosed with lung cancer [mean age 68 ±12 years, male 105 (85%), female 18 (15%), smokers 85%]. The mean symptomatic time before hospitalization was 74.5 ±7 days. On hospitalization, respiratory symptoms were present in 40 (32%) patients. Tumour staging was carried out in 120 (97%) patients. In 96 (77%) patients non-small lung cancer was diagnosed, 62 (64%) in stage IV. In 28 (23%) patients small lung cancer was diagnosed, 22 (79%) in extended stage. Median time to diagnosis as an in-patient was 7 days. One hundred and thirteen (91%) patients died with a median survival time of 3 months. Factors associated with longer survival were the performance status and tumour stage. Conclusions. In this community, lung cancer is diagnosed late and in advanced stages, with a high mortality rate. A better performance status and lower tumour stages appear to be associated with longer survival.

Keywords : Lung cancer; Survival time.

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