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Independents' Day

Easing pressures for cancer referral

I refer to your report 'GPs pressured into making referrals for breast cancer' (News, December 16). There is no evidence two-week referral for breast cancer makes any difference to outcomes.

It is merely another arbitrary political target. Its only clinical function is to reduce the period of anxiety for the patient.

It could be argued that there is no need for such a system putting the onus on GPs. Surely consultants can spot a referral for a breast lump and give it the appropriate priority?

Specialists could look at a two-week referral, check the age of the patient, and if they really think it inappropriate they could downgrade it to routine.

But they know as well as we do that we are faced with patients and not statistics, and that cancers do occur at young ages ­ it could even happen to my daughter or theirs.

Dr A R Cadamy



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