One in five bowel cancer patients should have been diagnosed sooner.
A study in the British Journal of Cancer has revealed that 20% of emergency bowel patients are found to have had cancer which should have been picked up before. And 16% of patients had seen their GP on three or more occasions with relevant symptoms.
Researchers from University College London looked at what happened to bowel cancer patients during the five years leading up to their diagnosis. They found that in England, 22% of colon and rectal cancers were not diagnosed until patients presented to A&E with serious deterioration. A lot of these patients had “red flag” symptoms which should have prompted an earlier referral to hospital by their GP.
The red flag symptoms include:
- Abdominal pain
- Rectal bleeding
- Change in bowel habit
If bowel cancers are diagnosed and treated early, the prognosis can be favourable.
GPs have guidelines under which to refer patients to hospital if they have suspected bowel cancer, so that they are seen within two weeks. This will then lead to early detection and treatment, and the chance of a better outcome.
Davies and Partners specialist medical negligence solicitors have acted for patients and their families affected by delayed diagnosis and treatment of bowel cancer. If you have concerns regarding treatment provided, contact the team today for assistance.
Author: Katie Nairne e: