However, a substantial group of patients were only referred to hospital after three or more visits to their family doctor. Patients from this group were mostly women, young people, or had less common cancer. Patients with symptoms of multiple myeloma, lung and pancreatic cancer required many more consultations with their family doctor before they were referred to a hospital, compared to patients with more common cancers such as breast, melanoma and testicular cancer.
Researchers suggest that the differences in the nature and characteristics of symptoms of different cancers may explain why certain cancers are more difficult to diagnose. They also said that doctors may be less likely to consider cancer in young patients, and that they may have difficulty communicating with patients from different ethnic groups, which may explain why a diagnosis takes longer in these patients, according to a HealthDay News report.
“These findings highlight limitations in current scientific knowledge,” lead author Georgios Lyratzopoulos, of Cambridge University, said in a HealthDay News. “Medical research in recent decades has prioritised improving cancer treatments, but knowledge about the ‘symptom signature’ of common cancers and practical solutions on how best to diagnose them is still emerging.”
Source: HealthDay News