Presentations to general practice before a cancer diagnosis in Victoria: a cross-sectional survey
The known Most patients diagnosed with cancer had initially consulted a general practitioner about their symptoms. Delayed diagnosis is associated with poorer patient experience and possibly worse clinical outcomes.
The new The number of GP visits and the time from symptom onset to seeing a hospital specialist were strongly influenced by cancer type. For example, patients with pancreatic cancer or multiple myeloma were more likely to have visited a GP several times; breast cancer patients were least likely to have done so.
The implications Strategies for reducing missed opportunities for diagnosing cancer earlier in general practice are needed.
Cancer is the leading cause of disease burden in Australia;1 by 2020 about 150 000 new cases will be diagnosed each year.2 Most patients diagnosed with cancer had initially consulted a general practitioner about their symptoms;3–6 GPs are therefore pivotal in the timely diagnosis of cancer. A systematic review found evidence that longer time to diagnosis is associated with poorer clinical outcomes.7 Delays before cancer diagnosis may be caused by various factors at the patient, general practice…