Enhancing the fast-track referral of suspected head and neck cancer from primary to secondary care in the UK; an evidence-based approach
The UK fast-track system for suspected cancer – the ‘two-week rule’ (TWR) - states that for suspected cancer there should be a maximum of 14 days between primary referral care to secondary care specialist consultation. Those in favour point out that the rule is valued by patients and is important in speeding up the overall cancer treatment pathway. However, opponents of the system argue that the rule has had little or no effect on survival, diagnoses cancer in only a small proportion of referrals and is expensive.
However, the the published evidence base in relation to the policy is relatively poor and many fundamental questions, such as the effect on survival still need to be answered. In my own area of interest, head and neck cancer, the evidence in relation to the two week rule is particularly poor.
My overall aim, at this early stage of my DPhil, is to define an effecive, evidence-based approach to fast-track referral of head and neck cancer from primary to specialist care.