New cancer diagnosis research 'exciting' for the future of healthcare, says RCGP

Publication date: 03 January 2019

Responding to news that Cancer Research UK are embarking on new research into a breath test to aid cancer diagnosis, Professor Helen Stokes-Lampard, Chair of the Royal College of GPs, said:

"Diagnosing cancer at the earliest possible stage could make a huge impact and lead to better health outcomes for our patients for many cancers, so it's really exciting to hear about this research that is just starting and we look forward to seeing the results of the forthcoming trial.

"However, as this research is in its early stages it's important for patients to know that breath tests to detect cancer are unlikely to be commonplace at their GP practice anytime soon. Nevertheless, if following rigorous evaluation these trials are successful, and shown to have potential benefit for patients, then we would certainly welcome them as routine tests for patients at risk of cancer, and it would be important that GPs have easy, funded access to them once proven to be safe and effective.

"In the meantime, GPs need better access to established diagnostic tools, and the appropriate training to use them. We are already doing a very good job at appropriately referring patients we suspect of having cancer despite the pressures general practice is facing and given that we have some of the worst access to diagnostic tools in the community in Europe. Ultimately, we also need to see more resources and more GPs in the community, so that we can continue to deliver the best possible care to all our patients, including those with cancer, and those we suspect of having cancer."

Further Information

RCGP Press office: 020 3188 7633/7574/7575
Out of hours: 0203 188 7659

Notes to editor

The Royal College of General Practitioners is a network of more than 52,000 family doctors working to improve care for patients. We work to encourage and maintain the highest standards of general medical practice and act as the voice of GPs on education, training, research and clinical standards.

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