A new module for GPs and nurses on spotting the signs and symptoms of sarcoma is now available through a collaboration between Sarcoma UK and GatewayC.
Patients often tell us that the biggest delay to their diagnosis is when they have to repeatedly see a GP, who doesn’t recognise their symptoms of being a potential sarcoma. A third of all sarcoma patients see a GP more than 3 times before they are referred for further tests.
In our report, Delays Cost Lives, we called for an education programme for medical professionals to help improve these shocking statistics. We have now worked with GatewayC, a free online cancer education platform, to develop a module to educate GPs on the signs and symptoms of sarcoma.
GatewayC aims to support the NHS targets of improving early cancer diagnosis, increasing cancer survival, and enhancing patient experience. This course is accredited by the RCGP and follows NICE cancer referral guidance.
The course was formed using real life examples and interviews with doctors and patients. We hope the course will contribute to sarcoma being diagnosed earlier, increasing patient’s chances of survival, and improving the patient’s overall experience of the diagnostic pathway via an increase in health care professional’s knowledge and awareness around the signs and symptoms of sarcoma.
Charlotte’s story highlights the value in medical professionals familiarising themselves with the potential signs and symptoms of sarcoma, despite its rarity. Charlotte’s father, Martin, first visited a GP when he noticed a lump the size of a pea on his inner thigh. Martin went to get this checked out, and was told by his GP that it was a cyst, even though it was painful. He was advised to wait 6 weeks and only return if there were any changes. By the time of his next appointment, the lump had grown to the size of a golf ball.
Despite this, Martin’s GP still thought the growing lump was a cyst, and sent him for an ultrasound as a precaution. By the time he had had further diagnostic tests and was diagnosed, the lump had grown to the size of an apple. Sadly, this delay in diagnosis meant that Martin’s sarcoma had become metastatic, and he passed away a year later.
After his death, the GP practice knew they needed to learn from this story and worked with Charlotte, Martin’s daughter, to train all their staff across four surgeries. In the months following this training, staff were able to recognise the symptoms of three new cases of sarcoma, potentially saving three lives.
Health care professionals can register for this course now by visiting gatewayc.org.uk/courses