Intended for healthcare professionals


General practitioners and cancer

BMJ 2000; 320 doi: (Published 22 April 2000) Cite this as: BMJ 2000;320:1090

Primary care oncology needs more research if it is to develop

  1. Nicholas Summerton, senior lecturer in primary care medicine, University of Hull
  1. The Surgery, Winterton, Scunthorpe DN15 9TA

    Primary care has not traditionally been seen as central in the planning and provision of oncology services. This partially reflects the infrequency with which cancer is diagnosed by individual general practitioners and the dissociation between general practitioners and large parts of the care of patients with cancer. Nevertheless, as doctors concerned with the comprehensive, coordinated, and continuous care of individuals, families, and, increasingly, populations, general practitioners do have an important role in cancer, and the British government's desire to improve cancer outcomes relies heavily on general practitioners playing their part.

    The early detection of cancer by either screening or the prompt recognition of potentially important symptoms is already the province of primary care. General practitioners occupy a critical position in ensuring the effectiveness of national cancer screening programmes as well as providing effective and cost effective advice on specific primary prevention strategies.1 In the United Kingdom's breast and cervical cancer screening programmes primary health care team members have both developed and been …

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