A REPORT by a Leukaemia charity suggests more awareness is needed by GPs to diagnose blood cancer.
The study by Leukaemia CARE indicates more than a quarter of its members felt their GP did not respond to their concerns when they first reported health problems.
According to the survey, 28 per cent indicated that they felt their GPs did not listen to them at all or did not pay sufficient attention to them during consultations.
NHS data shows that 57 per cent of all acute leukaemias are identified when someone attends hospital as an emergency – more than most other cancer types.
The charity’s report, which was based on the findings from a survey of its supporters’ network and NHS figures, underlines the need to improve processes for identifying cases early, bosses have said.
Tony Gavin, director of campaigning and advocacy, said: “The number of people with blood cancer being diagnosed at a late stage is very concerning.
“Blood cancer can be hard to identify. As a result, GPs and nurses need to be equipped with dedicated resources to enable them to spot the key signs and symptoms, and decide whether further tests or a referral to a specialist is appropriate.
“Identifying potential cases at the earliest opportunity will help to improve outcomes for patients, as well as reduce the burden on accident and emergency departments.”
Leukaemia CARE is now calling for better support for GPs and practice nurses to help them to recognise the cluster of symptoms that may suggest blood cancer and trigger a referral.