A study of eight major cancer sites in England found 37 percent were diagnosed after emergency presentations. The figure was 37.4 percent in Wales and 38.5 percent in Scotland. Northern Ireland was 27.9 percent, but it was not directly comparable because it used a different definition. UK emergency diagnosis rates were higher than comparable areas in Canada (26.1 percent in Ontario), Australia (35.2 percent in New SouthWales) and Norway (36.5 percent).
Lead researcher, Professor Georgios Lyratzopoulos, of University College London, said: “Vulnerable patients – those who are older or with advanced disease – are disproportionately affected around the world.
“Getting better at preventing cancer, detecting it through screening, or diagnosing it soon after symptoms appear can help decrease emergency presentations and reduce cancer deaths.”
The study found older patients and those with advanced cancers were more likely to be diagnosed through an emergency route.Those with cancers that often have vague symptoms, including pancreatic, liver, lung and ovarian, were also more likely to end up in hospital. The findings from the International Cancer Benchmarking Partnership, working with Cancer Research UK, were published in The Lancet Oncology journal.
Cancer Research UK chief executive Michelle Mitchell, said: “The UK is already lagging when it comes to cancer survival.
“This study helps us understand why, showing that countries with higher levels of emergency presentations have lower survival.
“We need to learn from comparable countries and ensure fewer patients are being d?iagnosed with cancer after an emergency referral or trip to A&E.”
An NHS spokesman said: “This study examines people diagnosed between 2012 and 2017.
“The proportion of cancer patients diagnosed through an emergency route has been falling steadily since then.”