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Ignoring a referral when cancer is suspected increases the risk of death
Patients who ignore urgent referrals for suspected cancer are 12% more likely to die within 12 months of diagnosis, according to a new major UK study.
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Patients who ignore urgent referrals for suspected cancer are 12% more likely to die within 12 months of diagnosis, according to a new major UK study. The research results are published in the journal Cancer Epidemiology.
The study found that male patients, as well as patients of both genders under the age of 30 and over 85, are more likely to ignore a referral for an initial examination. Often, patients from disadvantaged areas and people with suspected diseases of the gastrointestinal tract are also not eager to be examined.
Scientists from the University of York and Hull York School of Medicine studied data from more than 100,000 patients who received urgent referrals for cancer screening. Most of these patients (95%) went for testing, but a certain minority (5% or 5,673 people) did not. And although only one in 18 patients who ignored the referral was subsequently diagnosed with cancer (compared with one in ten of those who followed the advice of doctors), their future prospects were significantly worse. 34.6% of them were subsequently diagnosed with advanced disease, compared with 18.4% of patients who did not ignore the referral. For this reason, according to scientists, within a year after the diagnosis, 31.3% of those who ignored the primary referral died, but subsequently they were still diagnosed with cancer.compared with 19.2% of those who went to the initial examination, which confirmed the suspicion of cancer.
According to the authors, this difference is explained by the fact that the treatment of patients who ignored the primary direction begins already at a later stage of the disease. The authors also suggest that the reluctance to undergo an initial examination for suspected gastrointestinal cancer is associated with concerns about some unpleasant procedures. Scientists also emphasize that early diagnosis is essential to improve the survival chances of people suffering from cancer.