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Sunday 20th May 2018

One in three cancers 'missed'

16th May 2011

The NHS audit has revealed that one third of cancers are not spotted by GPs during patient consultations.


The large study showed that 36% of patients were not given a hospital referral when they first went to their doctor for a consultation.

One fifth of patients (20%) had to visit their GP three times before they were referred to hospital.

The research showed 7% had to see their doctor five or more times before they were sent to hospital for tests.

Over 300 patients every day are diagnosed with cancer after having had their symptoms dismissed by GPs.

Professor Mike Richards, the government’s cancer tsar, told The Sunday Telegraph that the audit had been carried out because slow diagnosis was the major cause of the UK's poor cancer survival rates.

"Late diagnosis of cancer is a major problem in this country, and it accounts for the gap in survival between this country and countries like Australia, Canada and Sweden," he said.

"In the past, when the NHS had less resources, there has been some implicit encouragement of GPs to play a gatekeeping role - to limit the number of cases referred to hospital. Our message to GPs is clear: if in doubt, play it safe."


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Article Information

Title: One in three cancers 'missed'
Author: Jess Laurence
Article Id: 18478
Date Added: 16th May 2011


The Telegraph

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