Bristol GP Dr Willie Hamilton’s study identified seven symptoms that could help GPs and practice nurses diagnose ovarian cancer early. The symptoms were: abdominal distension, postmenopausal bleeding, loss of appetite, increased urinary frequency, abdominal pain, rectal bleeding and abdominal bloating.
RCGP chairman Professor Steve Field said the paper showed academic general practice research at its best. He said the paper presented ‘research done in general practice by GPs that will lead to important changes in clinical practice and ultimately will save lives’.
Professor Sir Mike Richards, England’s National Clinical Director for Cancer, said the research had helped the DoH and cancer charities raise awareness of the symptoms.
Dr Hamilton said ovarian cancer would not always spring to a GP’s mind with the subtle symptoms listed. ‘Understandably, some cancers are missed,’ he said. ‘If our research helps even one woman to have her diagnosis expedited, then we will be delighted.’