Diagnosing Cancer

by Olga Kostopoulou

Cancer causes death to millions of people worldwide. Early detection of cancer in primary care can enhance patients’ chances of survival. However, detecting cancer early is no simple task. The symptoms can be vague and non-specific, and can be easily attributed to pre-existing or other, more common conditions. Attributing symptoms of bowel or ovarian cancer, such as abdominal distention and pain, to Irritable Bowel Syndrome is a frequent example. With funding from Cancer Research UK, we have been researching early cancer diagnosis for the last 5 years. When I started work in this area, I had assumed that cancer is always at the back of a GP’s mind. I found out that this was not necessarily the case. (more…)