Diagnosing colorectal cancer in primary care

BMJ 2010; 340 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.c1714 (Published 01 April 2010) Cite this as: BMJ 2010;340:c1714
  1. David Weller, professor of general practice
  1. 1Centre for Population Health Sciences, Edinburgh EH8 9AG
  1. head.csch{at}ed.ac.uk

    Delays and suboptimal investigations mean there is much room for improvement

    Earlier diagnosis of colorectal cancer, a common malignancy in the United Kingdom, improves survival. International interest in developing strategies for improving diagnosis and reducing delay is growing. The best chance of improving symptom based diagnosis resides in primary care, where most patients with cancer first present.1 In the linked systematic review (doi:10.1136/bmj.c1269), Jellema and colleagues assess the diagnostic performance of tests for colorectal cancer, either alone or in combination with symptoms.2

    Despite intensive efforts and comprehensive national cancer frameworks,3 the UK lags behind other European countries in terms of stage of presentation and survival for common cancers, including colorectal cancer.4 It has been estimated that more than 4000, or 9% of all deaths from colon cancer, could be avoided if the UK’s survival figures were in line with mean European rates.5 This has, in part, prompted a renewed emphasis on …

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