Doctors should be better equipped at spotting signs of pancreatic cancer, experts said, after a survey of GPs found nearly half were not confident they could identify the symptoms of the potentially fatal disease.
A survey of 575 GPs found that 49% said that they were not confident that they could identify the signs and symptoms of possible pancreatic cancer in a patient.
One in five GPs want more formal evidence of the signs and symptoms of pancreatic cancer, the study showed.
The research, conducted by charity Pancreatic Cancer UK, found that three in five GPs want more information on “clusters of symptoms” rather than site-specific symptoms.
Professor Sir Mike Richards, National Cancer Director at the Department of Health, said: “Pancreatic Cancer UK’s survey demonstrates that we must find ways to support GPs better in identifying symptoms which could be pancreatic cancer, to enable earlier diagnosis.
“This will help ensure that people diagnosed with the disease are given access to the best care possible.”
Pancreatic Cancer UK chief executive officer Alex Ford added: “Our survey highlights that GPs do believe that earlier diagnosis of pancreatic cancer is important even if there is no opportunity for cure.
“But it also shows that many GPs do not feel confident in their ability to identify those patients where further investigation is warranted.”