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Why are too many cancers only diagnosed in A&E?

A study published by The National Cancer Intelligence Network reports that almost a third of cancers in the over-70s are only diagnosed when a patient is admitted to hospital as an emergency. The most frequent cancers in the over-70s to be diagnosed during an emergency admission include 70% of central nervous system cancers (which include brain cancers), 55% of pancreatic cancers and 52% of liver cancers.

The report suggests that for all cancer types, patients were much less likely to be alive a year later if they were diagnosed through emergencies, than if they were diagnosed at an earlier time.

The report highlights not only the need for patients to report any concerning symptoms to their GP, but also the necessity for early recognition by GP’s of symptoms that may indicate a potentially serious condition requiring further investigation.

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