Cancer Keys: False negative chest X-rays
Latest articles: With communication at the heart of GatewayC and fundamental to improving patient care, this blog series focuses on introductions and reflections from the team behind the programme. In this post, we’re introducing Olivia, Media Technologist at The...read more
Latest articles: Welcome to Cancer Keys, a regular bite-sized learning column brought to you by GatewayC in collaboration with Cancer Research UK. Sudden onset diabetes Symptoms of pancreatic cancer can often be vague; however sudden onset diabetes can be a...read more
Welcome to Cancer Keys, a regular bite-sized learning column brought to you by GatewayC in collaboration with Cancer Research UK.
False negative chest X-rays
The main investigation for suspected lung cancer in primary care is a chest X-ray. However, reports show that some patients with normal chest X-rays still transpire to have lung cancer.
Although most large lung cancers can be seen on a chest X-ray, a study in the British Journal of General Practice in 2006 showed that there is a false negative rate of over 23% – more than 1 in 5.
Chest X-rays are a useful investigation, but be aware of false negative results. If a chest X-ray is negative, but there is still clinical suspicion, either refer the patient for a computed tomography (CT) scan (if available), or refer the patient via a suspected cancer pathway.