What to tell a patient at the point of a suspected cancer referral

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Meet the specialists: diagnosing ovarian cancer Q&A

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15th January 2021 Missed our free GatewayC webinar on Diagnosing Ovarian Cancer? Watch our recording here. In this webinar, GatewayC met Professor Gordon Jayson, Professor of Medical Oncology at The Christie NHS Foundation Trust, who answered key questions from our...

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Friday 5th June 2020

The consequences of poor patient preparation for a suspected cancer referral pathway can be significant; impacting not only patient trust, but also the number of DNAs. A study funded by Cancer Research focused on ‘what good looks like’ at the point of referral (CRUK, 2018). It stated that a GP should:

  • Inform the patient that they are being referred to rule out cancer and reassure that most people referred will not have cancer
  • Ensure the patient understands the importance of attending their referral appointment
  • Provide written information to the patient

GatewayC’s ‘Improving the Quality of Your Referral’ course includes a full interview with three specialists, giving their opinion on what they think you should share with a patient at the point of referral first.

Key points from the interview include:

  • Communicate the positive predictive value (PPV) of cancer to the patient if possible
  • Be open with the patient, share your observations and findings
  • Written information can help the patient understand the referral process

Find out more:

  • Access GatewayC’s ‘Improving the Quality of Your Referral Course’ here
  • Read this article from Amelung et al (2019) discussing the influence of patient-doctor conversations on patient behaviour

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