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Leicestershire Centre for Integrated Living

GPs are missing cancer in children - because they 'don't have enough training'

Date: 1/9/2015
Summary: GPs fear they are struggling to spot cancer symptoms in children due to a lack of training.

A survey of 1,000 GPs by CLIC Sargent found they also believed a lack of awareness of symptoms was leading to delays in diagnosis.

Some parents say they had to see their family doctor at least three times before their child's cancer was finally suspected.

Experts said they were "deeply concerned" over the delays which can reduce children's chances of surviving.

Lorraine Clifton, chief executive of children's cancer charity CLIC Sargent, which carried out the study, said: "It is very striking that so many GPs feel that more could be done to help them identify suspected childhood cancer.

"We are deeply concerned that so many parents feel that their child's cancer diagnosis was delayed and tell us that they believe this had a negative impact on their child's health and wellbeing, and their own."

She added: "It is clear that a targeted approach to improving support for GPs in identifying childhood cancer is needed."

Some 46% of GPs said a lack of training was one of their top three barriers to identifying childhood cancer, with 22% saying it was their top barrier, the study found.

Almost a third (32%) said a lack of awareness of the symptoms was one of their top three barriers, while 33% said initial GP training did not offer enough experience in the care of children.

In total, 51% said they needed more time for training sessions on symptoms, and half called for more time for appointments with patients.

CLIC Sargent also surveyed 186 parents of children with cancer, of whom 62% said GPs were lacking in knowledge of symptoms.

Sean Duffy, national clinical director for cancer, said: "Improving outcomes for cancer patients, including children and young people, is a high priority for NHS England."

source Mirror

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