This paper sets out to review the influence of social processes on the timing of the diagnosis of cancer and to explore the potential for promoting earlier diagnosis by addressing social factors that influence symptom recognition and the diagnostic process. Social processes refer to the means by which culture and social organisation may impact on timely cancer diagnosis. The paper calls for concerted action around an important and developing research agenda that may prove highly valuable in the quest to secure prompt diagnosis for cancer and through it improved outcomes for individuals. <br/><br/
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