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New tests made available to Bury GPs will ensure low risk cancer patients receive a faster diagnosis

by prestwichfocus on 21 October, 2019

Two new cancer investigative tests have been made available to GPs across Bury to help them provide a faster diagnosis to patients presenting with low risk symptoms of pancreatic or colorectal (bowel) cancer.

GPs will now be able to refer patients at low risk of suspected pancreatic cancer for a direct access computerised tomography (CT) abdomen scan. A CT scan is a more sensitive diagnostic test than an ultrasound scan (which until now has been the available diagnostic) for investigating suspected pancreatic cancer. As the early signs of pancreatic cancer are vague and very similar to many other conditions, referring low risk patients for the scan will provide an earlier and accurate diagnosis.

A second test, known as the faecal immunochemical test (FIT), will be used to help diagnose patients who present with low risk symptoms of bowel cancer. This new test is quick and pain free and reduces the need for these patients to have invasive tests, such as a colonoscopy, in hospital. The test involves the examination of a stool sample for traces of blood. The patient can take the test in the comfort of their own home and drop the sample back into the surgery for onward testing.

The new tests are cost effective and will result in a better experience for the patient as they avoid unnecessary invasive tests and hospital visits. Where a patient does have cancer, the tests will also help to improve their life expectancy by assessing them at an earlier stage and providing a better prognosis.

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