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Simple GP questions can detect cancers

Rectal bleeding and dyspepsia are the most reliable indicators for GPs of possible early cancer, Dr Nick Summerton has found.

Dr Summerton, a member of the Department of Health cancer referral guidelines working party and a GP in Winterton, Lincolnshire, is using a short questionnaire to identify key symptoms presenting to GPs that should trigger a diagnosis of suspected cancer of any type. His findings will be presented to NHS cancer tsar Professor Mike Richards.

Early results in 2,337 patients will be published in Family Practice (June).

'Rectal bleeding and dyspepsia turn out to be important and reliable symptoms,' said Dr Summerton.

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