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Young patient waited ten months before being diagnosed with cancer
Date:6/8/2008

London, UK: A specialist cancer nurse will tell Teenage Cancer Trust's Fifth International Conference on Teenage and Young Adult Cancer Medicine today (Monday) how a young man waited for ten months before doctors correctly diagnosed him as suffering from Hodgkin lymphoma, after he was delayed by the referral pathway and hospital system.

Ms Sam Smith, a teenage and young adult (TYA) Nurse Consultant at the Teenage Cancer Trust Unit at the Christie Hospital (Manchester, UK), said: "The 20-year-old visited his GP with a painless swelling in the neck; a classic symptom of Hodgkin lymphoma. The GP did the right thing and referred him straight away for an ultrasound, which showed abnormalities.

"However, the problems started with the referral pathway. His GP referred him to an ear, nose and throat team at a district general hospital and not to a cancer specialist, which is a common pathway unless cancer has already been diagnosed. The tests that were carried out would not have been able to identify a malignancy. He was given the results a month later and clearly told it was not a cancer. His symptoms worsened and he was referred for a scan, which did not take place for a further two months. The scan was abnormal and he was then referred to another general hospital for a second opinion. This took a further month for an appointment and eventually an open biopsy of the neck lump was performed which is the only way to diagnose Hodgkin lymphoma. The results of the biopsy were further delayed due to the Christmas and New Year period. He was eventually given the diagnosis of Hodgkin lymphoma in January this year, ten months after the first onset of his symptoms.

"His mother heard about our unit and rang me and asked if his care could be transferred to the Teenage Cancer Trust Unit. When he came to our unit he had not had necessary staging scans performed and so there was a further two-week delay while we carried out the pre-treatment tests and
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Contact: Emma Mason
wordmason@mac.com
44-077-112-96986
Teenage Cancer Trust
Source:Eurekalert

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