Symptomatic cancer diagnosis in general practice: a critical perspective of current guidelines and risk assessment tools

The Australian Cancer Plan, unveiled in November 2023, underscores the importance of cancer prevention and early detection, particularly in primary care where most cancer diagnoses originate when patients present with symptoms. General practitioners face challenges in diagnosing cancer due to the broad and undifferentiated nature of patient presentations. While guidelines like Cancer Australia’s Optimal Care Pathways offer guidance, they may not effectively address symptom overlap or align with evidence-based practices. Efforts to improve early cancer diagnosis must balance the need for timely detection with the risks of over-testing and over-diagnosis. Implementing tailored resources and tools, such as risk assessment systems and electronic clinical decision support, could enhance diagnostic accuracy in primary care. Moving forward, collaborative efforts between GPs, researchers, and cancer agencies are crucial to bridge the gap between knowledge and practice and improve cancer diagnosis in primary care. Read the original article here
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