Call for faster X-ray referrals
A bone cancer charity has called for faster X-ray referrals by GPs to improve survival rates for patients.
A report from the Bone Cancer Research Trust says that, while five-year survival rates for almost all cancers have improved since the 1980s, this is not the case for primary bone cancer, in which the cancer has started in the bone and not spread from elsewhere.
The report was prepared for the National Cancer Intelligence Network and is published today to mark the start of Bone Cancer Awareness Week.
Dr Harriet Unsworth, i research officer at the Bone Cancer Research Trust, said: "Primary bone cancer symptoms can include painful bones or swollen joints, and this can easily be misdiagnosed by GPs as a sporting injury or growing pains.
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"Many children and young adults have had to make several visits to their GP over many months before they are finally sent for an x-ray, or referred to a specialist. That can have a huge impact on their chances of survival.
"GPs need to be more aware of primary bone cancer so they can consider a diagnosis of bone cancer much earlier than they do currently.
"There is clearly a need to improve GPs' awareness of primary bone cancer so that a quicker diagnosis can be made.
"Faster diagnosis and new treatment options have boosted the survival chances of people with many of the more common forms of cancer.
"We need to urgently address the imbalance here and find ways to improve primary bone cancer patients' chances of survival."