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UTI symptoms may indicate cancer - conference told

Thursday February 14th, 2019

Women treated for urinary tract infections should be investigated for cancer if serious symptoms persist, a conference heard last night.

Doctors too readily assume that repeated symptoms are the result of recurring infection, researchers told the Cancer Research UK early diagnosis conference in Birmingham.

The researchers suggest that electronic tools could help GPs identify patients who need further investigation in these circumstances.

They report an analysis of 24 studies involving 100,000 people. This showed that two thirds of patients with blood in the urine had no further check-ups within the six months of their first visit to a doctor about the symptom.

Researcher Dr Yin Zhou, of Cambridge University, said: "This research is an important step towards improving our understanding of why some people are diagnosed later than others.

“Although UTIs are the second most common condition that GPs are prescribing antibiotics for, in some people, symptoms of a UTI may be masking symptoms of bladder or kidney cancer.

"Only a small number of patients with persistent symptoms and recurring UTIs will go on to develop cancer but it’s important that we don’t miss them. The next step will be to find a way to detect these patients earlier.”

Cancer Research UK GP adviser Dr Richard Roope said: "This research shines a light on the importance of taking a step back to consider what might be causing any recurrence of symptoms, rather than assuming the diagnosis is the same as it has been before.

“There’s no easy way to know which patients need to be referred or seen again. All GPs want the best for their patients so research like this, highlighting where improvements need to be made, such as arranging a review, is very useful.”

Tags: Cancer | Internal Medicine | UK News | Women's Health & Gynaecology

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