The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) has released a new clinical guideline to help doctors with recognising and referring cancer. It gives recommendations that GPs and other primary care professionals can use for suspected cancer in children, young people and adults.
Informed by investigation findings, the guideline is called ‘Suspected Cancer: Recognition and Referral’ and is organised by symptoms and the places where cancers occur in the body. By focusing on the symptoms a patient might suffer, the guideline is arguably easier to use than the last clinical guideline, which was published in 2005.
It is hoped that this guidance from NICE will not only help doctors to refer cancer patients to specialist services faster, but also that the general public will be able to use the information to assist them in spotting signs of cancer and then promptly consulting their GP about the suspected cancer.
The sooner cancer is recognised and correctly diagnosed the more likely treatment is to be successful. Tragically in many cases, delayed cancer diagnosis results in a terminal cancer, which might have been treatable if recognised at an early stage.
Approximately one in three people are diagnosed with cancer within their lifetime in the UK across over 200 different cancer types. Each type of cancer has its own symptoms. Most people attend their GP with symptoms as their first port of call.
The role of the primary care service is crucial to the early referral and diagnosis of cancer. In some cases primary care service is the difference between effective cancer treatment and end of life care. NICE’s new guidelines are a welcomed step towards the early prediction, diagnosis and treatment of cancer.
Rabia Ibrahim is a Clinical Negligence Solicitor at Slater and Gordon Lawyers UK.
Slater and Gordon Lawyers can advise on whether you have a claim for delayed diagnosis of cancer. If you or a family member discovered the cancer late on because the symptoms were missed by a medical professional you should arrange a consultation. Call us on freephone 0800 916 9049 or contact us online and we will advise you on how successful your compensation claim could be.