Cancer risk threshold 'too high' - Lancet Oncology publication
15 January 2014
Patients have expressed an appetite for potential cancer symptoms to be checked out much sooner than current NHS thresholds guidelines suggest, new research has revealed.
In the UK, one in three people in the UK will develop cancer during their lifetime. Although cancer survival rates in the UK have improved in the past 15 years, it still lags behind average European figures. Earlier diagnosis is considered to be one of the main ways to improve UK survival, particularly by refining the selection of patients for cancer investigation.
A new study, published in Lancet Oncology today [14 January], asked 3,649 participants to fill in a total of 6,930 ‘vignettes’ - graphic analyses of symptoms which indicate particular types of cancer. Of those, 88 per cent opted for further investigation, even if there was only a low risk that the symptom could indicate cancer. In fact, there was only a slight rise in those who opted for investigation when the risk factor was higher than one per cent.
The research is part of the DISCOVERY Programme, a five-year initiative between six universities and the NHS which aims to transform the diagnosis of cancer and prevent hundreds of unnecessary deaths each year.