The frequency, nature and impact of GP-assessed avoidable delays in a population-based cohort of cancer patients

There is a growing body of evidence demonstrating the negative impact of delays in cancer diagnosis on disease severity, choice of treatment, prognosis (including mortality) and patient experience. This study used data from the English National Cancer Diagnosis Audit & primary care physicians to identify ‘avoidable’ delays in cancer diagnoses, together with the ‘setting’ of the avoidable delay and key attributable factors. From over 14,000 patients, a quarter had a GP-assessed avoidable delay to their diagnosis. The diagnostic interval was 2 months longer for patients who had an avoidable delay. Patients with multimorbidity were more likely to have an avoidable diagnostic delay, as well as those with certain cancer types (like stomach & other gastrointestinal cancers).

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