Nav: Home

Cutting number of cancers diagnosed as emergencies could save 1,400 lives a year

May 03, 2018

Over 1,400 lives could be saved every year - four more every day - if more cancers were diagnosed through GP referral instead of emergency hospital admissions, according to a new study led by City, University of London and funded by Macmillan Cancer Support.

Cancers diagnosed following a GP referral are more likely to have been spotted early, meaning patients have a better chance of surviving or living longer with their disease.

Examining over 370,000 people from England's National Cancer Registry with the four most common types of cancer (breast, bowel, prostate and lung cancer), it was also seen that a shift from emergency cancer diagnosis towards GP referral, in line with the best performing areas in England, would come at a small additional cost to the NHS. The study is published in BMC Cancer.

The researchers from City, Imperial College London, University of Palermo and Social Research Division, Dublin found that the estimated cost of such a shift was an average of £2,130 per year of life saved, or just £6 per day for the four cancersv.

This is due partly to the fact that patients who survive go on to require more long-term follow up care from the NHS. The costs for cancers diagnosed via GP referral also encompass those for diagnostic tests, including on patients who may not turn out to have cancer, but where the referral or investigation may have picked up another treatable condition.

These additional costs are low when viewed in the context of the wider NHS and the huge benefits early diagnosis brings to patients and their families - as well as being associated with lower survival, an emergency cancer diagnosis is often a huge shock, which can be traumatic for patients and their families, and may also mean that they do not have as much support immediately available to them.

Furthermore, the additional costs are well within current cost-effectiveness threshold guidelines which consider interventions costing less than £20,000 per year of life saved to represent 'good value for money' and to be worthy of NHS investment.

Dr Mauro Laudicella, Senior Lecturer in Health Economics at City, University of London and one of the authors of the paper said:

"We already know too many cancers are diagnosed as emergencies, but what this research shows is a large variation across geographical areas of England, offering real opportunities for a cost-effective intervention. What is even more compelling is the low level of additional investment such an intervention would require, and the fact that in some cancers, like prostate, it would actually save money for the NHS, as well as the lives of patients.

"While it is no surprise that people who survive their cancer cost the NHS more money in the long run, the findings of this research reiterate the fact that this is a small price to pay for a huge amount of benefit to patients and their families."

City University London

Related Cancer Articles:

Stress in cervical cancer patients associated with higher risk of cancer-specific mortality
Psychological stress was associated with a higher risk of cancer-specific mortality in women diagnosed with cervical cancer.
Cancer-sniffing dogs 97% accurate in identifying lung cancer, according to study in JAOA
The next step will be to further fractionate the samples based on chemical and physical properties, presenting them back to the dogs until the specific biomarkers for each cancer are identified.
Moffitt Cancer Center researchers identify one way T cell function may fail in cancer
Moffitt Cancer Center researchers have discovered a mechanism by which one type of immune cell, CD8+ T cells, can become dysfunctional, impeding its ability to seek and kill cancer cells.
More cancer survivors, fewer cancer specialists point to challenge in meeting care needs
An aging population, a growing number of cancer survivors, and a projected shortage of cancer care providers will result in a challenge in delivering the care for cancer survivors in the United States if systemic changes are not made.
New cancer vaccine platform a potential tool for efficacious targeted cancer therapy
Researchers at the University of Helsinki have discovered a solution in the form of a cancer vaccine platform for improving the efficacy of oncolytic viruses used in cancer treatment.
More Cancer News and Cancer Current Events

Best Science Podcasts 2019

We have hand picked the best science podcasts for 2019. Sit back and enjoy new science podcasts updated daily from your favorite science news services and scientists.
Now Playing: TED Radio Hour

Rethinking Anger
Anger is universal and complex: it can be quiet, festering, justified, vengeful, and destructive. This hour, TED speakers explore the many sides of anger, why we need it, and who's allowed to feel it. Guests include psychologists Ryan Martin and Russell Kolts, writer Soraya Chemaly, former talk radio host Lisa Fritsch, and business professor Dan Moshavi.
Now Playing: Science for the People

#537 Science Journalism, Hold the Hype
Everyone's seen a piece of science getting over-exaggerated in the media. Most people would be quick to blame journalists and big media for getting in wrong. In many cases, you'd be right. But there's other sources of hype in science journalism. and one of them can be found in the humble, and little-known press release. We're talking with Chris Chambers about doing science about science journalism, and where the hype creeps in. Related links: The association between exaggeration in health related science news and academic press releases: retrospective observational study Claims of causality in health news: a randomised trial This...