28 May 2015
Responding to new research published in the BMJ Open which highlights GPs in England, Wales and Northern Ireland are less likely to immediately refer people with possible cancer for tests or to a specialist than those in comparable countries, Professor Jane Maher, Joint Chief Medical Officer at Macmillan Cancer Support, says:
“This study shows us once again how the ability to access data on areas such as cancer referrals can help guide on how we can continue to improve cancer care and survival across the country. We know that timely diagnosis is vital to not only improving cancer survival rates but also ensuring that people are able to live well after cancer.
“However we must not jump to overly simplistic solutions. We know that issues such as an over stretched healthcare system, a lack of support for GPs, misunderstandings between hospitals and primary care and inadequate diagnostic capacity can all contribute to delays in diagnosis.
“If we are serious about improving cancer survival rates in the UK, we need to ensure that GPs are well supported to spot cancer symptoms early. We also need to ensure they are able to make quick referrals and that when referrals are made, the system responds in a timely manner.”
For further information, please contact:
Cora Bauer, Senior Media and PR Officer, Macmillan Cancer Support
0207 091 2016 (out of hours 07801 307068)
Notes to Editors:
About Macmillan Cancer Support
When you have cancer, you don’t just worry about what will happen to your body, you worry about what will happen to your life. Whether it’s concerns about who you can talk to, planning for the extra costs or what to do about work, at Macmillan we understand how a cancer diagnosis can take over everything.
That’s why we’re here. We provide support that helps people take back control of their lives. But right now, we can’t reach everyone who needs us. We need your help to make sure that people affected by cancer get the support they need to face the toughest fight of their life. No one should face cancer alone, and with your support no one will.
To get involved, call 0300 1000 200 today. And please remember, we’re here for you too. If you’d like support, information or just to chat, call us free on 0808 808 00 00 (Monday to Friday, 9am–8pm) or visit macmillan.org.uk