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by Tom Freeman
22 January 2019
Suspected cancer referrals ‘to speed up’ under revised guidelines

Cancer cells - fotolia

Suspected cancer referrals ‘to speed up’ under revised guidelines

The system of referring patients suspected of having cancer to specialists in Scotland has been revised to improve detection and diagnosis rates.

The new guidelines are based on emerging evidence and will enable primary care workers such as advanced nurse practitioners, pharmacists and dentists to flag up symptoms more easily.

Early stage diagnosis can have a big impact on whether a person survives.

The system of referral has been revised in collaboration with Scottish Primary Care Cancer Group, Macmillan Cancer Support and Healthcare Improvement Scotland.

Health secretary Jeane Freeman said: “The earlier cancer is diagnosed the easier it is to treat. The latest Scottish Referral Guidelines for Suspected Cancer will help ensure clinicians in Scotland have access to the most up-to-date evidence to refer patients with symptoms suspicious of cancer onto the most appropriate pathway at the right time.”

The patient pathways updated include lung, breast, children and young people, brain and urology. 

A patient support leaflet, ‘Your Urgent Referral Explained’, has been developed with Cancer Research UK to coincide with the launch of the revised guidelines.

The Scottish Government’s £100m cancer strategy was published in 2016 and promised measures to improve early detection.

Last week a group of MSPs warned efforts to tackle cancer in Scotland were being held back by staff shortages.

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