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Cancer risk tool rolled out to over 4,000 GP practices


The national rate of conversion of 2WW referrals to cancer is approx 10.5% i.e. 1 in 10, two week referrals is truly a cancer. Nationally approx 45% of all cancers are picked up by 2ww ( the actual number picked up quickly is probably slightly higher as if some is suspected to have e.g leukemia we don`t wait for 2 weeks but admit them ASAP -appropriate treatment but will not count towards 2ww referrals) To increase the pick up rate one can understand the 5% risk rule but the no of false positive could be high and false negatives if the symptoms are not read coded adequately. I am quite happy to run a automatic batch processor which we did for Q diabetes and Qrisk based on existing information to target screening but this is a different ball game. Calling up someone saying we would like to do a health check and then checking fasting sugar or lipids or HbA1c is different from calling someone for suspected cancer!!! Given that most symptoms listed are usually free texted and not read coded it may falsely reassure as well if symptoms are not read coded. Also I suspect most Acute Trusts would collapse completely if we use the 5% risk criteria -so although a noble and laudable effort there may not enough capacity in the system to absorb that. I would like to see if they have done any population based studies to see how much extra referrals this would generate. As usual caveat emptor! Some consultants believe the risk should be set at 30% ( the local trust 2ww letter states only 30% of those referred via 2ww have cancer-and they already can`t cope and have written for us to scrutinize our referrals well before sending! Wonder how they will cope at 5 % risk threshold or lower!

Posted date

03 Mar 2015

Posted time