Research Round-up – June 2021 with Prof Ross Lawrenson & Dr Tania Blackmore

Dr Kristi Milley spoke to Professor Ross Lawrenson and Dr Tania Blackmore from the University of Waikato. Ross is an academic GP and Professor of Population Health and Medical Research. Tania is a Senior Research Fellow with a background in Psychology. Together, they have published a study in BMC Family Practice titled How do colorectal cancer patients rate their GP: a mixed methods study.

Ross and Tania explained that New Zealand has a high incidence of colorectal cancer and low rates of early diagnosis – and that the majority of colorectal cancer is diagnosed through general practice. They highlighted that a good patient-general practitioner relationship can facilitate prompt diagnosis, but when there is a breakdown in this relationship, delays can occur.

One of their key points was that communication and continuity of care is key; although not always possible.

Ross pointed out that there is an increasing incidence of colorectal cancer in younger patients and that guidelines make getting diagnostic access to those patient really difficult.  Therefore we need to keep pushing research needs of younger patients that are coming into the system.  Also, ongoing research needs to be done on the barriers for Māori patients with colorectal cancer and making sure there is equity of access to bowel cancer screening.

Finally, Tania really emphasised the importance of GP relationships and how patients value those relationships and that they have a direct influence on diagnosis.

Read the full paper here.