Cancers diagnosed late have a poorer prognosis and are associated with poorer quality of life and greater treatment costs. Less than one fifth of lung cancers and less than half of bowel cancers are detected at an early stage in Australia. Earlier detection of cancer is possible either through screening asymptomatic populations, or through timely diagnosis of patients with symptoms.
For many cancers accurate screening tests do not exist; even where national screening programs occur, such as for breast and bowel cancer, most of these cancers are detected when patients present to their GP with symptoms. Primary care is pivotal to improving early cancer detection through the assessment of patients with symptoms, and by ensuring patients receive cancer screening according to their risk of developing cancer.
This presentation will provide examples of approaches to improving early detection of cancer in primary care including evidence on: