Letters Self referral for cancer tests

Will self referral for cancer tests result in better mortality outcomes or yet more activity among the worried well?

BMJ 2015; 350 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.h562 (Published 05 February 2015) Cite this as: BMJ 2015;350:h562
  1. Kit Byatt, consultant general physician and geriatrician1
  1. 1Wye Valley NHS Trust, Hereford HR1 2ER, UK
  1. cbyatt{at}bigfoot.com

I heard the news about self referral for cancer tests on the radio, and my heart sank. Having read your detailed account,1 I am not reassured.

A key problem is confusing the three related, but very different, concepts: survival, disease specific mortality, and overall mortality. Conflate these with changing the paradigm from investigating relevant symptoms after initial assessment by a clinician (the acknowledged world …

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