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Teenage cancer patients face diagnosis delays, says poll

22 March 2010

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Researchers have warned that teenage cancer sufferers are experiencing delays in being diagnosed by their GPs.

More than 350 young people took part in the survey which was conducted at the Teenage Cancer Trust’s national conference in Nottinghamshire.

It found that at least a quarter of participants who have, or have had cancer, had visited their GP four or more times before securing a referral to a specialist.

Nearly one in five of those involved said their GP never referred them and a number expressed concern about how long it took them to be diagnosed.

Professor Sir Mike Richards, national clinical director for cancer and end-of-life care, said: “I get to hear what the key priorities are for teenagers and young people with cancer and this spurs me on to make sure that all services in this country are brought up to the best level.”

Twenty-six percent of the 356 delegates paid their GP four or more visits before getting a referral, a further 13% said it took them three visits before they were given an appointment with a specialist.

However, more than a fifth (21%) said they only had to see their GP once before being referred.

The conference, called Find Your Sense Of Tumour and held at the Sherwood Forest Center Parcs resort, dealt with the issues young cancer patients face.

Copyright © Press Association 2010

The Teenage Cancer Trust