Islanders recruit own GP
A key alarm symptom set out in the two-week referral guidelines for gastrointestinal cancer is actually a negative predictor of cancer, according to new research.
The study concluded the referral guidelines should be replaced by a narrower set of criteria after finding that patients who presented with uncomplicated dyspepsia were highly unlikely to have cancer.
Older patients with uncomplicated dyspepsia accounted for a fifth of referrals but only 0.3 per cent of cancers.
The researchers suggested a new model, only recommending referral if dyspepsia presented with another alarm feature, could reduce fast-track referrals by almost a third.
The study analysed 1,852 fast-track referrals in Liverpool between 2000/2. The results will be published in January's edition of Gut.