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Saturday 24th August 2019

Too many cancers diagnosed in A&E

21st September 2012

A study by the National Cancer Intelligence Network (NCIN) has found nearly a third of cancers are only found in patients aged over 70 when they are admitted to A&E in an emergency.


The study examined how around three-quarters of a million patients were treated between 2006-8 in England.

A paper published about the study in the British Journal of Cancer said lung and brain cancers had the highest likelihood of being diagnosed at A&E.

The NCIN study "worked backwards" in order to determine what happened before patients were diagnosed in A&E.

They discovered that around 58,400 cancers were diagnosed in total at A&E and 38,300 cancers were in people aged over 70.

The study showed lung cancer was the most common cancer to be diagnosed as a result of emergency admission, with 39% of cases found at A&E.

More than 70% of central nervous system cancers in people aged over 70 came after emergency admission, along with 55% of pancreatic cancers and 52% of liver cancers.

Sara Hiom, director of information at Cancer Research UK and one of the authors of the NCIN study, said: "We don't yet know the reasons that lie behind these stark figures but, although we might expect higher numbers of older patients to have cancer detected as an emergency, we urgently need to understand why there is such a great proportion."

"It may be that older people are reluctant to bother their doctor with possible cancer symptoms, or they could be slipping through the net as symptoms may be dismissed as 'the usual aches and pains' or 'old age', or their GP could have referred them but their condition has progressed so rapidly that they end up as an emergency in hospital." 

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Monday 24th September 2012 @ 20:38

It's not just people in their 70s this is happening to.

My mum was 54, she just passed away this April after being sent home by one GP who told her to stop drinking & look after her liver, oh & gave her some pills for the pain. Next day she was still in soo much pain she went back to her doctor, who sent her to A&E, six weeks later my mum was dead.

I can still see the scared look on her face everytime I close my eye's after she found out there was nothing that can be done for her other than to make her comfortable in her final days. And I can still hear her asking why she will not get to see her grandson's grow up.

I'd like to find out more about what treatment she was getting from her GP in the run up to her death, I know she was being treated for some heart problem that just recently popped up, like was the strain on her heart to do with the fact her organs were quickly shutting down. She had other symptoms too but Why didn't her GP's recognise her symptoms & send her for tests earlier I have loads of questions but can't get any answers from her doctors or even access her medical notes.

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