Early diagnosis for myeloma patients is associated with improved overall survival. The one year survival rate for patients diagnosed via GP referral is significantly higher than those diagnosed following emergency admission (88% vs 62%). Fundamental to timely diagnosis of rarer cancers such as myeloma is increased GP awareness.
Myeloma patients experience some of the longest delays in diagnosis of all cancer patients. A study using data from the National Cancer Diagnosis Audit found myeloma patients had the longest primary care interval of all cancers included in analysis1. Results from the 2010 National Cancer Patient Experience Survey showed that out of 24 cancers, the greatest proportion of patients who saw their GP more than 3 times before hospital referral were myeloma patients2. These delays are likely to be due at least in part to the vague and overlapping symptoms of myeloma with other benign conditions.
In collaboration with the RCGP Myeloma UK has developed a 5 minute screencast for the GP community that aims to increase awareness, highlight primary care tests and introduce the management of myeloma and its earlier forms, MGUS and smouldering myeloma. This is critical to help reduce delays in diagnosis in primary care while providing an understanding of its treatment at the secondary care level.
This mini-module is free to GPs (and other primary healthcare professionals) through the RCGP e-learning website under the theme ‘5 minutes to change your practice’.
- Swann R, McPhail S, Witt J et al. Diagnosing cancer in primary care: results from the National Cancer Diagnosis Audit. British Journal of General Practice 2017; 68 (666): e63-e72.
- Lyratzopoulos G, Neal RD, Barbiere JM, et al. Variation in number of general practitioner consultations before hospital referral for cancer: findings from the 2010 National Cancer Patient Experience Survey in England. Lancet Oncology 2012; 13(4): 353–365.