Fifth of Wiltshire cancer patients diagnosed after A&E visit

Fifth of Wiltshire cancer patients diagnosed after A&E visit

Published by Henrietta Creasey at 5:46am 17th July 2019.

Public Health England says people with the disease stand a much slimmer chance of surviving when their diagnosis comes via an emergency admission.

Last year 2,486 patients were admitted to hospital with cancer in the NHS Wiltshire CCG area.

Of those 470 (19%) were admitted as an emergency, rather than routes such as screening programmes or routine GP referrals.

Patients diagnosed in this way are more likely to have more advanced and difficult to treat cancers.

The figure is in line with the national average across England.

The fate has been falling since 2010 when it stood at 22%.

Cancer Research UK says people with unusual or persistent symptoms should be able to seek early help more easily.

1 in 5 cancer patients in Wiltshire diagnosed after an an emergency admission to hospital.

Dr Jodie Moffat, head of early diagnosis at the charity, said GPs have made huge efforts to improve early diagnosis by referring more people with suspected cancer symptoms to be seen at hospital within two weeks.

But stressed across the country "significant numbers of people still continue to be diagnosed with cancer after they’ve turned up at A&E."

"The reasons for this are complex, but encouraging people to seek help early for unusual or persistent symptoms, and reducing any barriers to seeking help, might help to bring this number down."

A spokesperson for Cancer Research UK said a rise in admissions for cancer which increased 16% over nine years – is largely down to a growing and ageing population.

Lucy Elliss-Brookes, head of cancer analysis at PHE, said:

"Patients with cancer presenting as an emergency have significantly worse survival rates, so it is encouraging to see these figures continuing to fall.

However, we know there is variation across England and that some people are still waiting too long to go and see their GP with symptoms that could suggest cancer."

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