Risk of cancer following primary care presentation with fatigue: a population-based cohort study of a quarter of a million patients

Delays in cancer diagnosis often occur when patients present to GPs with non-specific symptoms, such as fatigue. While fatigue is a prevalent symptom for many cancers, there is limited literature around fatigue and risk of cancer diagnosis in primary care. This UK study analysed a nationwide primary care database and a cancer registration database to determine the risk of cancer associated with presentation of fatigue in primary care. Risk was found to be higher than 3% in older patients, particularly in women aged 80 and over as well as men aged 65 and over. The risk was greatest within the first three months of presenting with new-onset fatigue, which may be important for surveillance period guidelines. This suggests that older patients who present with fatigue should be considered for urgent two-week-wait referrals for suspected cancer. These findings may be crucial for improving the limited referral and investigation guidelines for cancer diagnosis in primary care, especially for patients who experience non-specific symptoms such as fatigue. Read the original article here.
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