Going to your general practitioner may delay your chances of getting treated for cancer early.
According to a study published in the British Journal of Cancer, valuable time is lost when cancer patients goes to a GP first and diagnosis gets delayed. Patients with suspected prostate cancer might be diagnosed three times later than those with breast cancer patients who straight away goes to gets treated for cancer. The average time for the diagnosis of prostate cancer is 148.5 days while that of breast cancer is 55.2days.
The research cites reasons for bypassing GPs are if cancer is diagnosed when the patient have already been admitted in a hospital, or when they go for regular screenings. Delay of diagnosis seemed to be maximum caused by patients who themselves may have delayed a visit to the medics, or the delay that happened between the first visit to the GP and the tests being carried out to diagnose cancer. These delays in time were much more in comparison to delays due to being referred for treatment or delay in secondary care ffered.
Researchers feel that there is a need for improving interventions that can reduce the delays caused in cancer detection as caused inadvertently by the primary care giving medics.