ABC of colorectal cancer: The role of primary care
F D Richard Hobbs
Every general practitioner in the United Kingdom will on average see one new case of colorectal cancer each year. For most primary care doctors the most important contributions they make to the care of patients with colorectal cancer relate to early diagnosis of the condition (including the point of referral) and to palliation of symptoms in those with established disease. Further roles in the future primary care service are screening for colorectal cancer (possibly using faecal occult blood testing) and a greater involvement in monitoring patients after curative procedures.
Early diagnosis of colorectal cancer is essential in view of the stage related prognosis. Three potential levels of delay occur in the diagnosis of the disease: delay by the patient in presenting to the general practitioner; delay in referral by the general practitioner to a specialist; and delay by the hospital in either establishing the diagnosis or starting treatment. Detrimental differences