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A quarter of patients with cancer see their GP several times before being referred

BMJ 2011; 343 doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/bmj.d7601 (Published 25 November 2011) Cite this as: BMJ 2011;343:d7601
  1. Susan Mayor
  1. 1London

Three quarters of patients who see their GP with symptoms that lead to a cancer diagnosis are referred extremely promptly—within one or two visits—but a quarter had three or more consultations before they were referred to a specialist, shows an audit of general practices. About 3% saw their GP five times or more before being referred.

GPs were best are spotting cancers with obvious symptoms. Nearly three quarters (72%) of patients who were given a diagnosis of breast cancer were referred after seeing their GP just once, as were 69% of patients with melanoma, 62% with endometrial cancer, and 61% with testicular cancer, shows the audit, which was carried out by the Royal College of …

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