Study Finds Delay in Specialist Referrals for Some Cancer Patients

A recent study looked at how many times patients went totheir general practitioner doctors with cancer symptoms before being referred to a hospital or specialist in the United Kingdom. The study found that 77% of people who presented to their regular doctors with symptoms of cancer were referred to hospitals after one or two visits.

However, the results were not so consistent when it came to specialist referrals. The study found that patients who were female, young, or older and an ethnic minority were less likely to be promptly referred to a specialist. Additionally, patients who had rarer forms of cancer generally had a longer wait before being referred to a specialist.

Prompt cancer treatment can often mean the difference between life and death. Patients in the United States, like patients in the United Kingdom, are urged to be aware of the study and to request prompt referrals to specialists if they believe that their condition has been misdiagnosed.