Anna Beckingham, aged 40, from Norwich, visited her GP practice three times because of concerns about a pea-sized lump and pains in her right breast.She has training as a physiotherapist, so she is not ignorant when it comes to medical issues. But her concerns were discounted.
The mother of two was first told that the changes were "probably hormonal," and related to recent breast feeding. Discharge was dismissed as likely to be caused by an infection. On a third visit, to a different doctor at the practice, she was given a "non-urgent" referral to hospital, but it was not until March 2007 – 14 months after she first saw her GP – that she was finally diagnosed with cancer.
By then, she had no option but to have a full mastectomy, to remove a growth which was now five centimetres in diameter, followed by reconstruction surgery.
Are there targets for how few times a GP sends someone to a specialist? Or do the doctors just not care?
Breast cancer is the most common form of cancer in the UK.
Latest quarterly figures show that of more than 9,000 women diagnosed with breast cancer, almost half had not been given an urgent referral by their GP.What's so urgent?
I can't wait for Obama to give us socialized medicine.