Symptoms in primary care with time to diagnosis of brain tumours

Brain tumours often present with non-specific symptoms with other diagnoses usually being more likely. Using data from the National Audit of Cancer Diagnosis in Primary care, this study examined how different symptoms and patient demographics predict variations in time to diagnosis of brain tumours. Neurological symptoms were grouped into six domains and times were calculated for patient presentation, GP referral, specialist consultation and total pathway interval. Of the 226 included cases, the median time for the total pathway interval was 24 days. The most common presentation was focal neurology. Headache only and memory complaints were associated with a slower total pathway compared to ‘fits, faints or falls’. Given that patients presenting with headache only or memory complaints lead to a longer pathway, future work needs to identify whether any additional features or other simple inexpensive tests could be administered in primary care that could help reduce the time to diagnosis. Read the full article
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