The statistics show that multiple visits to healthcare professional prior to diagnosis result in dissatisfaction with the overall experience of care.
We at The Brain Tumour Charity know that for many of those affected by a brain tumour the route to diagnosis is often convoluted with multiple visits to the GP and diagnosis after an emergency presentation at A & E being common place.
Our own recent research shows that nearly a quarter of people with a brain tumour have to wait over 12 months from their first visit to a healthcare professional before they are diagnosed, with 1 in 3 reporting 5 or more visits to the GP prior to diagnosis.
The National Cancer Patient Experience Survey (NCPES) repeatedly shows us that for those with a high grade brain tumour in England their NHS experience is often amongst the poorest of all cancers surveyed, and we believe that this is also likely to be the case in the rest of the UK.
NICE have recently published new guidelines for GPs to help them identify where patients may have cancer. However, as the symptoms of brain tumours often mimic the symptoms of other conditions, the new NICE guidelines do not mandate an urgent referral for any of the individuals for brain tumours. We believe that NICE and other need to provide clearer guidance on what to do when patients experience several symptoms at the same time, or if the symptoms keep recurring.
That information is provided by the HeadSmart campaign and guideline for the diagnosis of brain tumours in children, and the same clarity is needed for adults. This is why The Brain Tumour Charity is funding research into the adult diagnostic pathway, to identify the most common symptoms and investigate the underlying causes behind delays to diagnosis.
Early and accurate diagnosis is one of the priority areas in our 5 year strategic plan Defeating Brain Tumours which aims to Double Survival and Halve the Harm that brain tumours have on quality of life.