Intended for healthcare professionals

Letters Rethinking diagnostic delay in cancer

The problem with using number of primary care consultations before cancer diagnosis

BMJ 2015; 350 doi: (Published 28 January 2015) Cite this as: BMJ 2015;350:h432
  1. Philip J R Taylor, general practitioner1
  1. 1Axminster Medical Practice, Axminster EX13 5AG, UK
  1. philtaylor{at}

Use of the number of relevant consultations in primary care before a cancer diagnosis is problematic.1

Consultations can be counted only retrospectively, which could lead to an incorrect assumption about the index consultation. After diagnosis of lung cancer, an initial consultation in a male smoker for a winter cough might be counted, even though referral at …

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