Crouse Health Online: Wellness is just a click away.
Share Share
  |  Connect with Us: 
large
med
small
Text Size
 

Health News



Why Cancer Symptoms May Elude M.D.

Why Cancer Symptoms May Elude M.D.

02/24/12

FRIDAY, Feb. 24 (HealthDay News) -- Diagnosing cancer is more difficult in certain groups of patients, according to a British study.

Researchers analyzed data gathered from more than 41,000 patients with 24 types of cancer who were treated in 158 hospitals across England. They found that 77 percent of those who saw their family doctor about suspicious symptoms were referred to a hospital after only one or two consultations.

However, the study found that women, young people, non-white patients and patients with less common cancers were more likely to see their family doctor three or more times before they were referred to a hospital.

The researchers identified large differences in the promptness of family doctors in England to diagnose different types of 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.

For example, almost 51 percent of patients with the blood cancer multiple myeloma required multiple visits to their family doctor before referral, compared with less than 8 percent of breast cancer patients.

Differences in the nature and characteristics of symptoms may explain why certain cancers are more difficult to diagnose, the researchers said. For example, multiple myeloma is especially difficult to diagnose because it mimics other conditions, while a breast lump may readily suggest cancer, the authors said.

They also said that doctors may be less likely to consider cancer in younger patients and may have communication difficulties with patients from different ethnic groups, which may explain why cancer diagnoses can take longer in these patients.

The study appears online Feb. 24 in The Lancet Oncology.

"These findings highlight limitations in current scientific knowledge," lead author Georgios Lyratzopoulos, of Cambridge University, said in a journal news release. "Medical research in recent decades has prioritized improving cancer treatments, but knowledge about the 'symptom signature' of common cancers and practical solutions on how best to diagnose them is still emerging."

Martin Guilliford, of King's College London, wrote in an accompanying editorial that the findings raise several questions that should be tested in future research.

He said some of those questions are: "Do modes of cancer presentation vary systematically between different groups of patients? Are (family doctors) more reluctant to refer young or non-white patients for investigation of possible cancer? Are participants in these groups less willing to accept a referral to investigate possible cancer?"

More information

The American Academy of Family Physicians has more about cancer diagnosis and tests.

Copyright © 2012 HealthDay. All rights reserved.

Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.

OF INTEREST:
 

Latest News

Crouse Hospital Appoints Chief Information Officer
more >

MedEx Bedside Prescription Delivery Service

Free service offers convenience, patient education at discharge.
more >

CrouseSports Express After-Hours Ortho Care

Immediate care of orthopedic injuries in kids and adults.
more >

Weight Loss Surgery

Is it right for you? Attend a free information seminar held twice monthly.
more >

Quality at Crouse

See how Crouse Hospital strives to provide the best in patient care.
more >

Cheer Up That Special Someone

Say get well or welcome a new arrival with a gift purchased right at Crouse.

more >

Make an Online Donation Now

Your donation of any amount helps support Crouse services & programs in a meaningful way.
more >

Shop Online Now

Say get well, thinking of you or welcome new baby with a unique gift from the Crouse Gift Shop.

more >