Too many patients – particularly those from disadvantaged backgrounds – are being diagnosed with cancer as medical emergencies, say researchers. This means that their chances of successful treatment are greatly reduced.
If it takes more than three trips to the GP to be referred for cancer tests, patients are more likely to be dissatisfied with their overall care, eroding confidence in the doctors and nurses who go on to treat and monitor them, according to new research.
Delays in referrals for suspected cancer are unlikely to be down to poor performance by GPs, argue a team of researchers today in the British Medical Journal. Instead, they say that such delays largely reflect limitations in scientific knowledge and in the organisation and delivery of healthcare.
New research shows that lack of awareness of the symptoms of mouth and oesophageal cancer means people wait much longer before visiting their GPs than people with symptoms of other cancers.
Each year 5,600 patients are diagnosed with cancer at a late stage because of inequalities. Study underlines importance of awareness campaigns.
Patient information reveals women, young people, ethnic minorities and people with less common cancers have the highest number of pre-referral consultations.