Patients still experience
problems with referrals
Latest research confirms seeing a cancer specialist isn’t always the same for every cancer patient.
Some patients have longer referral waits than others.
This is one reason for the CANCER WELLBEING DAY – to be held at Kensington Town Hall (off Kensington High Street) Monday, March 26th from 3 – 7 pm.
As well as it being a fun day for cancer survivors, carers, etc. there will also be representatives present who can point visitors to where they can get accurate information.
A survey of more than 41,000 cancer patients in the United Kingdom reveals 77 %percent of patients who visited a doctor when they first experienced symptoms, were referred to a specialist after only one or two consultations.
But women, young patients, ethnic minorities, and people with less common types of cancers, such as multiple myeloma, pancreatic, stomach, and ovarian cancer, were more likely to visit a doctor two or three times before they were referred to a hospital.
The Patients’ Association will have a stand at the Wellbeing Day, and their survey http://www.patients-association.com/ has more details. Click on survey in middle of screen.
One patient, who lives just near the Kensington Town Hall, says “although I knew I was high risk for potential cancer, it took me four months of repeat visits before I had the investigation I needed”.
“The bottom line is we need to prioritize research on the diagnosis of cancer,” said Georgios Lyratzopoulos, clinical senior research associate at the University of Cambridge and lead investigator for the study. “We’re highlighting the limitations of the cancer research model. What has been forgotten implicitly is research to develop the better understanding of how people with cancer present – what is called ‘symptom signature.’”
The findings were a result of secondary analysis of the English National Cancer Patient Experience Survey done on cancer patients with 24 different cancers in 2010. While the research is specific to U.K. doctors and hospitals,
Lyratzopoulos said he is certain the trends he discovered will be echoed in future research conducted in the United States and beyond.
“It’s a global issue; it’s not something that only affects the UK,” Lyratzopoulos said. “I imagine after this paper is published and it percolates to our scientific peers, there will be some emulation of this work.”
The same goes for perceptions of women and cancer risk, according to the researchers. Comparatively, women have lower rates of cancer than men, so doctors may have a tendency to consider the possibility of cancer later than they should.
Doctors need to take patients’ concerns more seriously
“What it demonstrates is that doctors do kind of know these trends and internalize it in some generalized way,” Lyratzopoulos said. “They pass judgment in a way that they shouldn’t. That’s the theory anyway; we have no data for this, but that’s what we put in the paper.”
But the real problem, Lyratzopoulos said, lies in the lack of knowledge surrounding diagnosis. For bladder cancer, women were twice as likely as men to visit their doctor three or more times before getting a hospital referral. The researchers felt this represented the difficulty for some doctors to differentiate between symptoms of bladder cancer and bladder infection or other generic gynecological conditions.
Also, patients who had a little known cancer called multiple myeloma were 18 times more likely to require three or more pre-referral visits from their family doctor. Multiple myeloma is a blood cancer that mimics many other conditions, making it difficult for doctors to diagnose. “To be able to pick up on the initial signs is something that should be incorporated [in cancer screenings],” said Anne Young, vice president of strategic alliances for MMRF. “Don’t just look at the typical results, but look at protein levels.” This technique can help to better detect multiple myeloma.
Dr. Brett Ruffo, a colorectal surgeon at Peconic Bay Medical Center in Riverhead, NY, said this research not only highlights the need for better education in physicians – but also in patients.
Read more: http://www.foxnews.com/health/2012/02/23/minorities-young-people-take-longer-to-diagnose-for-cancer-than-other-groups/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+foxnews%2Fhealth+(Internal+-+Health+-+Text)#ixzz1nLzQn8aV
Representatives from various cancer charities will be at the event, and although they will be there to give support to those who have already had cancer, they are well used to pointing enquirers to the right direction for informed help – even if they can’t answer a question themselves : Prostate Cancer, Breast Cancer Care, Bowel Cancer, Better Days Cancer Support (BME), Rarer Cancers, Mouth Cancer, Royal Marsden Hospital, etc., and Mark Davies will be giving his often hilarious, but well-informed, talk on his experiences with Bowel Cancer.