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Travelling further to a GP may improve cancer survival rate

Patients who travel further to see their GP have better cancer survival rates, research finds.

Patients who travel further to see their GP have better cancer survival rates, research finds

cancer
Having to travel further to see a GP could improve cancer survival rates. Picture: iStock

Patients in rural areas and those in urban areas who have to travel further to see a GP have better cancer survival rates, a study has found.

The study, led by the University of East Anglia, looked at the travel times and the three-year survival rates of 926 patients with colorectal cancer.

A third of patients lived in a rural area and the majority (83%) were over 60 years old with over half having comorbidities.

Unexpected link

The team found that rural patients and those in urban settings who had to travel further to their GP had better three-year survival rates.

It is believed to be the first study to examine whether symptomatic presentation of colorectal cancer is different in rural compared with urban areas.

The researchers said unexpectedly there was a stronger link between colorectal cancer outcomes and travel times to GPs in urban areas than in rural parts.

Longer travel in urban areas significantly reduced the likelihood of emergency admissions and increased survival rates, the study found.


Murage, P et al (2017) British Journal of General Practice. Impact of travel time and rurality on presentation and outcomes of symptomatic colorectal cancer: a cross-sectional cohort study in primary care. doi.org/10.3399/bjgp17X691349

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