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Eight Key Cancer Signs Identified By Scientists

Discussion in 'JF Doctor' started by X-PASTER, Aug 28, 2010.


    X-PASTER Moderator

    Aug 28, 2010
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    Eight Key Cancer Signs Identified By Scientists
    Red flag symptoms to watch out for

    Scientists have identified eight key cancer symptoms which should be investigated further by GPs.

    Researchers say the eight symptoms predict the risk of cancer in specific age groups with such accuracy that doctors should refer patients for further investigation unless the symptoms can be explained by another medical condition.

    The eight symptoms of which may predict cancer are:

    * rectal bleeding (bowel cancer)
    * blood in urine (urological cancers)
    * coughing up blood (lung cancer)
    * breast lump or mass (breast cancer)
    * difficulty swallowing (oesophageal cancer)
    * post menopausal bleeding (gynaecological cancers)
    * unusual prostate/rectal examination (prostate cancer)
    * iron deficiency anaemia (colon cancer)

    However, each one can also be a symptom of another medical condition, which is why they need to be investigated.

    Scientists from Keele University analysed data from 25 studies from the UK, US, Netherlands, Belgium, Australia, Denmark and Germany to look for common signs of cancer.

    They say the symptoms and early tests could help GPs diagnose some cancers much earlier.

    Although the overall risk of cancer to someone with one of the symptoms is low, the researchers say the risk varies depending on age and gender and should always be checked.

    Commenting on the study, Dr Kevin Barraclough, a GP from Stroud, writes: "Iron deficiency anaemia in a 21-year old female is extremely unlikely to be due to colorectal cancer, whereas in a 60-year old male, cancer is likely."

    Professor Amanda Howe, honorary secretary of the Royal College of GPs, said: “It’s useful to see these well known ‘red flag’ symptoms and signs validated in primary care research, and reinforces the importance of encouraging patients to discuss worrying symptoms early with their GP.

    "Access and thorough examinations will help early diagnosis while further research gives us more detailed epidemiological thresholds for referral.”

    The findings are published in the British Journal of General Practice.

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