Concordance with urgent referral guidelines in patients presenting with any of six ‘alarm’ features of possible cancer: a retrospective cohort study using linked primary care records.
BACKGROUND: Clinical guidelines advise GPs in England which patients warrant an urgent referral for suspected cancer. This study assessed how often GPs follow the guidelines, whether certain patients are less likely to be referred, and how many patients were diagnosed with cancer within 1 year of non-referral.
METHODS: We used linked primary care (Clinical Practice Research Datalink), secondary care (Hospital Episode Statistics) and cancer registration data. Patients presenting with haematuria, breast lump, dysphagia, iron-deficiency anaemia, post-menopausal or rectal bleeding for the first time during 2014-2015 were included (for ages where guidelines recommend urgent referral). Logistic regression was used to investigate whether receiving a referral was associated with feature type and patient characteristics. Cancer incidence (based on recorded diagnoses in cancer registry data within 1 year of presentation) was compared between those receiving and those not receiving referrals.
RESULTS: 48 715 patients were included, of which 40% (n=19 670) received an urgent referral within 14 days of presentation, varying by feature from 17% (dysphagia) to 68% (breast lump). Young patients (18-24 vs 55-64 years; adjusted OR 0.20, 95% CI 0.10 to 0.42, p<0.001) and those with comorbidities (4 vs 0 comorbidities; adjusted OR 0.87, 95% CI 0.80 to 0.94, p<0.001) were less likely to receive a referral.
Associations between patient characteristics and referrals differed across features: among patients presenting with anaemia, breast lump or haematuria, those with multi-morbidity, and additionally for breast lump, more deprived patients were less likely to receive a referral. Of 29 045 patients not receiving a referral, 3.6% (1047) were diagnosed with cancer within 1 year, ranging from 2.8% for rectal bleeding to 9.5% for anaemia.
CONCLUSIONS: Guideline recommendations for action are not followed for the majority of patients presenting with common possible cancer features. A significant number of these patients developed cancer within 1 year of their consultation, indicating scope for improvement in the diagnostic process.
|ジャーナル名||BMJ quality & safety|
|投稿者||Wiering, Bianca; Lyratzopoulos, Georgios; Hamilton, Willie; Campbell, John; Abel, Gary|
|組織名||University of Exeter Medical School, College of Medicine and Health, University;of Exeter, Exeter, UK firstname.lastname@example.org.;Epidemiology of Cancer Healthcare and Outcomes Group, Department of Behavioral;Science and Health, Institute of Epidemiology and Health Care, University College;London, London, UK.;of Exeter, Exeter, UK.|