GPs play a crucial role in diagnosing blood cancer early. But the fact that they may only see one case of blood cancer every two years, combined with the notoriously vague and non-specific symptoms, means that diagnosis can be a challenge.
As a result, blood cancers have a higher rate of emergency diagnosis than other cancer types. Emergency presentation rates account for 30% of blood cancers diagnosed, compared to 22% across all cancers. The highest emergency presentation rates for any cancer type occur in acute lymphoblastic leukaemia (ALL), at 64% of patients. Early diagnosis has a significant impact on both survival rates and patient experience.
RCGP training courses
Leukaemia Care has developed online training modules and in-person events in partnership with the Royal College of General Practitioners (RCGP).
Online training modules take a closer look at the symptoms of blood cancers and feature case study scenarios, interactive content and tools to put learning into practice.
The resource is designed to support GPs and equip them with the knowledge to spot the signs and symptoms of blood cancer earlier and refer patients for appropriate specialist tests and treatment if a blood cancer is suspected.
Our 2017 Spot Leukaemia campaign raised awareness of blood cancers among the public and primary care. Over 10,000 GP practices received information packs and 250 primary care professionals registered for the RCGP and Leukaemia Care eLearning modules during August and September 2017. At the same time across the country, the public participated in activities to raise awareness of the symptoms and the importance of early detection.
To support this considerable effort, RCGP and Leukaemia Care held its first regional training event for GPs and GP nurses. The Spot Leukaemia training day saw over 40 medical professionals learning about the recognition of blood cancers as well as valuable patient experience.
The outcome of this event is that GPs (and their teams) will be better placed to diagnose blood cancer early, refer earlier and above all be more informed in managing a patient holistically.
We plan to run further events of this kind.