A quarter of cancer patients experience avoidable delay to diagnosis

One in four cancer patients experienced a delay to their diagnosis that could have been avoided, according to a new study | via Cancer Research UK

A new study, published in Cancer Epidemiology, looked at data the national cancer registry of around 14,300 people diagnosed with cancer in England in one year.

It found that nearly 3,400 patients experienced a delay that could have been avoided. Half of these patients waited around two months longer to be diagnosed compared with those who didn’t have an avoidable delay.

The reasons for delays are complex but researchers on this study attempted to identify what could go wrong. The study authors asked GPs to identify when the delay happened – before the patient saw their GP, while they were still being assessed by the GP practice or after they had referred them.

The data showed 13% of all avoidable delays happened before the patient saw their GP and 38% after the GP referred them to hospital. The other half (49%) happened while the patient was being assessed by the GP surgery including waiting for tests to be done and results to be sent back.

Full story at Cancer Research UK

Research article: Swann et al. | The frequency, nature and impact of GP-assessed avoidable delays in a population-based cohort of cancer patients | Cancer Epidemiology | published online 3 December 2019.

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