Myeloma UK news // 20th September 2019
Myeloma UK has collaborated with Macmillan to produce a “Myeloma 10 top tips” factsheet to support myeloma diagnosis by raising GP awareness.
Through this collaboration, we are able to share best practice for myeloma diagnosis, developed through our Early Diagnosis Steering Committee, with hundreds more GPs.
Myeloma has one of the longest delays to diagnosis of all cancers. These delays in diagnosis are largely due to the vague and non-specific signs and symptoms that patients will generally present to their GP.
Promoting earlier diagnosis of myeloma is a key goal for Myeloma UK and is essential to avoid long term complications associated with late-stage disease, such as kidney failure and spinal cord collapse which can impact patients’ quality of life and survival. Therefore, it is critical that GPs can recognise the early signs and symptoms of possible myeloma and are equipped with the knowledge and advice from secondary care to enable a timely diagnosis.
The importance of early cancer diagnosis is something GPs and Macmillan are aware of, yet the average UK GP will see only eight new cancer patients a year. For a rare cancer such as myeloma, a GP may come across a few cases of myeloma throughout their career.
To help GPs diagnose and treat cancer patients, Macmillan has funded GP positions for over 20 years to take on a role of primary care based ‘cancer leads’. These Macmillan GPs dedicate time (often one day a week) to help support various work streams such as educating GP colleagues on diagnosis, treatment and care for people with cancer as well as wider influential roles in supporting commissioning of cancer services. As part of this work, Macmillan has developed a series of resources to support early diagnosis of specific cancers in the primary care community called the Macmillan “10 top tips”. These downloadable files are one-page sheets for GPs to gain hints, tips and advice on many different cancers.
The “10 top tips for myeloma factsheet” was developed in collaboration with Macmillan GPs, Myeloma UK and the Myeloma UK Early Diagnosis Steering Committee. The factsheet contains top tips from myeloma experts to guide GPs on when to suspect myeloma and when to request a myeloma screen.
This factsheet can be accessed freely on the Macmillan website and will also be distributed via email update and newsletter to all 200 Macmillan GPs and 700 primary care professionals (e.g. nurses and pharmacists) who receive the Macmillan newsletter.
You can more about our Early Diagnosis Programme on the Myeloma UK website.