Friday, 9 March 2012

Cancer patients ignoring alarm signs for months

People with alarm signs of cancers frequently put off seeing the doctor for months, according to a report by the Royal College of GPs.

It found an eighth of cancer patients are waiting two months or more before seeing a family doctor.

Sadly, the audit discovered almost half of cancers have already spread beyond the original tumour by the time they are diagnosed, reducing the likelihood of long-term survival.

The report, led by Greg Rubin, professor of general practice and primary care at Durham University, found almost three-quarters of cancer patients (73.2 per cent) were referred to a specialist after one or two consultations.

But it found patients were sometimes waiting a "surprising" length of time before seeing their GP in the first place.

The report found: "Overall, 12 per cent of patients were recorded as having symptoms for two months or more prior to first presentation.

"There were some surprising patient delays relating to alarm symptoms - 12 per cent of those with breast lump, 26 per cent of those with change in bowel habit and 20 per cent of those with rectal bleeding delayed for more than two months before consulting."

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