Roger Watson, Editor-in-Chief*
What influences the time between developing gastroesophageal cancer and a doctor realising a patient has it? This was the subject of the a study titled: 'Which interval is most crucial to presentation and survival in gastroesophageal cancer: A systematic review' by Lee et al (2017) and published in JAN. The aim of the study was to: 'identify the most crucial interval to encourage earlier diagnosis in with gastroesophageal cancer and to identify potential factors effecting this interval' and the study used a systematic review method. Twelve articles published between 2000-2016 were analysed.
Three main themes were used to present the data: total delay; patient interval (ie time between symptoms and seeing a doctor); and treatment interval. In the words of the authors: 'This literature review identifies the patient interval as the most crucial factor for engaging in preventive measures to encourage earlier diagnosis. Most patients present at too late a stage for curation of GOC.' This supports UK government and cancer research charity calls for campaigns to increase earlier diagnosis by increasing awareness of symptoms in the general population. This should encouage people who have symptoms to see their doctor as early as possible, to receive trearment and survive longer. In conlusion, the authors say: 'The incidence of GOC is increasing across the globe, yet survival remains poor. However, there is a significant lack of focus on this cancer in the literature' and 'Potential sufferers of this cancer need to be encouraged to seek medical attention as the patient interval is the most crucial to survival. For this, community level interventions are required to raise awareness of the signs and symptoms of this cancer.'
*Declaration of interests: Roger Watson is a co-author of this article
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Lee A, Khulusi S, Watson R (2007) Which interval is most crucial to presentation and survival in gastroesophageal cancer: A systematic review Nursing Open DOI: 10.1111/jan.13308