Primary care health professionals play a crucial role in diagnosing blood cancer early. But the fact that you 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.
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. These are available via the RCGP online eLearning portal
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.
Future ‘Spot Leukaemia’ Blood Cancer Learning Workshops
Leukaemia Care are working with The London and South of England and Central and East of England Royal college of General Practitioners (RCGP) regions to raise awareness and understanding of blood cancer among Primary Care health professionals during Blood Cancer Awareness Month (BCAM).
Together we are hosting educational events in London on the 24th September and then following up in Leicester during the last week of January. These courses support RCGP and leukaemia Care blood cancer e-learning modules. The latest training days follow on from the January workshop pilot with Midlands RCGP. The ‘Spot Leukaemia’ workshop promotes early diagnosis of blood cancers to an audience of Primary Care Foundation Doctors, GPs, GP Trainees, GP Trainers or educators, Medical students, First5 leads, Nurses, Nurse Practitioners, Practice nurses, community pharmacists and clinical pharmacists
These participative workshops aim to empower Primary Care health professionals to recognise the vagaries involved in a rare blood cancer diagnosis and be up to date of appropriate referral pathways. The events also focus on communication during diagnosis, establishing an action plan and appropriate after care.
Our events are designed to prepare healthcare professionals to be better placed to diagnose blood cancer early, refer earlier and be more informed in managing a patient holistically by:
- raise the index of suspicion for primary care workers.
- give specific tips on early warning signs.
- improve the quality of communication and support offered to patients and their families by primary care.
2019 events are to be confirmed