A study to see if referring more people to have a chest X-ray reduces the length of time it takes to diagnose lung cancer in people over 60 who are smokers (ELCID)

Please note - this trial is no longer recruiting patients. We hope to add results when they are available.

Cancer type:

Lung cancer





This study is looking at whether more people having urgent chest X-rays would affect the diagnosis of lung cancer in people over 60 who are at high risk of the disease due to smoking. This study is supported by Cancer Research UK as part of the National Awareness and Early Detection Initiative (NAEDI).

If you have symptoms that could be caused by lung cancer, your GP may arrange for you to have a chest X-ray. But because the symptoms could be caused by other less serious conditions, and may go away by themselves, the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) has produced guidelines for GPs. The guidelines say that you should have an urgent chest X-ray if you’ve had certain symptoms for more than 3 weeks.

Researchers want to find out if people who are at higher risk of getting lung cancer should have an urgent chest X-ray even if they’ve had symptoms for less than 3 weeks.

This is a pilot study to see if it would be possible to run a larger trial looking at this.

The aims of the pilot study are to

  • See if people are willing to take part in a trial looking at this
  • Find out how many people go to their GP with symptoms they have had for less than 3 weeks
  • See how many of those people are diagnosed with lung cancer

Who can enter

You cannot volunteer to take part in this study. If you are over 60 and are a smoker (or have been), your GP may ask you to take part if you’ve gone to see your doctor and have at least 1 of the following

  • A new or different cough
  • Increased breathlessness or wheezing

You cannot enter this study if you

  • Need to have an urgent chest X-ray according to NICE guidelines
  • Need to have a chest X-ray within the next 3 weeks for some other reason
  • Have had a chest X-ray or CT scan of your chest in the last 3 months

Trial design

This pilot study aims to recruit 386 people who go to their GP with symptoms that could be due to lung cancer.

The study is randomised. The people who agree to take part will be put into 1 of 2 groups at random. Neither you nor your doctor can decide which group you are in.

People in one group have tests according to the NICE guidelines, which means that you won’t have a chest X-ray unless you’ve had certain symptoms for more than 3 weeks.

People in the other group have an urgent chest X-ray, regardless of how long they’ve had symptoms.

The researchers will ask everybody taking part to fill out some questionnaires. This should take less than 15 minutes.

The researchers will send you more questionnaires 2 months later. You can fill these out at home and return them in a prepaid envelope.

Agreeing to take part in the study means you are giving the researchers permission to look at your medical notes to see if you need to have any treatment during the next year.

The study team will ask some people to take part in an interview. They will ask them about their experience of taking part in the study. You don’t have to have an interview if you don’t want to, you can still take part in the study.

Hospital visits

If you have an urgent chest X-ray, this may be an extra hospital visit. But you would have had an X-ray anyway if your symptoms didn’t go away.

Side effects

Depending on which group you are in, you may have an X-ray that you don’t need. This means you would be exposed to some unnecessary radiation. But the level of radiation in a chest X-ray is extremely low.

Recruitment start:

Recruitment end:

How to join a clinical trial

Please note: In order to join a trial you will need to discuss it with your doctor, unless otherwise specified.

Please note - unless we state otherwise in the summary, you need to talk to your doctor about joining a trial.

Chief Investigator

Professor Richard Neal

Supported by

Bangor University
National Awareness and Early Diagnosis Initiative (NAEDI)
National Institute for Health Research Cancer Research Network (NCRN)
Wales Clinical Trials Unit (WCTU)

Questions about cancer? Contact our information nurses

Freephone 0808 800 4040

Last review date

CRUK internal database number:

Oracle 8996

Please note - unless we state otherwise in the summary, you need to talk to your doctor about joining a trial.

Over 60,000 cancer patients enrolled on clinical trials in the UK last year.

Last reviewed:

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