Almost a quarter of cancer patients have little faith in the National Health System, as a recent study shows that many have to visit their physician at least three times before they are referred for diagnostic tests.
Conducted by British scientists from the University of Cambridge and the University College London, the cancer research showed that a lot of cancer patients have complaints about their care, a dissatisfaction that leads to lost confidence in the doctors and nurses who are responsible for their treatment.
Researchers analyzed data collected from 70,000 cancer patients, 90 percent of whom received their diagnosis from their GP. It turns out that roughly 13,300 people had seen their physician three or more times before they were directed for cancer tests.
The research also found that patients who took the longest to receive a diagnosis had the highest chances of becoming dissatisfied with their care later on.
Roughly one in five participants reported to have been unhappy with the way the medical staff gave them the diagnose news; 40 percent more said there was a lack of communication between their GP and the hospital workers.
Ten percent of the patients interviewed felt that information about the course of their treatment had been deliberately withheld, with another 32 percent who said ward nurses did not inspire them confidence.
Leading author Dr Georgios Lyratzopoulos from University College London said that their research highlighted the importance of first impressions, as many cancer patients will consider those when judging their overall experience of cancer treatment.
It’s very easy to trigger a chain-reaction of loss of confidence with a negative experience of diagnosis, which will be reflected on the entirety of the cancer journey. Most of the time, however, diagnostic delays are not the doctor’s or the hospital’s fault, as they largely occur due to hard-to-distinguish cancer symptoms.
Doctors are in dire need of easy-to-use tests that offer accurate results in a shorter time; improving the care experience for cancer patients starts with providing better diagnostic tools, so doctors can know in a timely fashion which patients they need to refer for further testing.
The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) has already started doing something in this regard, as they announced last month they would issue a list of symptoms to help doctors spot cancer.
Reports say that “guessing” if it’s cancer leads to late diagnosis and the needless death of 10,000 people every year, mostly because half of cancers are usually diagnosed at an advanced stage, when treatment has less chances of working.
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