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Women ‘experience more cancer delays than men’

Women are more likely than men to experience delays in the diagnosis of bladder and renal cancers shows a new analysis of UK data.

The study

Researchers analysed data from 920 patients with bladder cancer obtained by the National Audit of Cancer Diagnosis between 2009 to 2010 in primary care. They looked for any gender differences in the referral, diagnosis and management of patients with urinary tract cancers.

The findings

After adjusting for age, haematuria and use of primary-care led investigations, being a woman was an independent risk factor of delayed diagnosis. Women were three times more likely to have three or more pre-referral consultations (odds ratio of 3.29) before being diagnosed with bladder cancer than men, but less likely if they presented with haematuria (OR=0.29). Women were two times more likely to have three or more pre-referral consultations for renal cancer (OR=1.90) than men, but there was no difference if they presented or not with haematuria (p=0.25).

What this means for GPs

The authors concluded: ‘There are notable gender inequalities in the timeliness of diagnosis of urological cancers. There is a need to both reinforce existing guidelines on haematuria investigation and develop new diagnostic decision aids and tests for patients who present without haematuria.’

BMJ Open 2013, online 24 June

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