Emergency diagnosis of cancer and previous general practice consultations: insights from linked patient survey data

Many patients with cancer are diagnosed through an emergency presentation. Patients who are diagnosed through emergency presentation often have poorer survival and a worse patient experience. Diagnosis of cancer as an emergency has been considered to represent ‘a failure of primary care’. The complexity of emergency diagnosis means that the proportion of cases who have been previously consulted with relevant symptoms in primary care is uncertain. This study aimed to examine how many cancer patients who were diagnosed as emergencies had previous primary care consultations with relevant symptoms. Data from over 4500 emergency cancer presentations identified that contrary to the suggestion that emergency presentations represented missed diagnoses a¬†one-third of patients have no prior GP consultations. Additionally, only one-third had multiple consultations and often had ‘harder-to-suspect- cancers such as multiple myeloma and lung cancer.   Read the full article here.
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