Cancer care: what role for the general practitioner?

David P Weller and Mark F Harris
Med J Aust 2008; 189 (2): . || doi: 10.5694/j.1326-5377.2008.tb01915.x
Published online: 21 July 2008

General practice is still somewhat adrift in the complex world of cancer services

General practice has not traditionally had a central role in cancer care. Typically, general practitioners have had the task of identifying and referring patients to specialists in a timely manner, but have stayed on the periphery of cancer care until patients reach the palliative stage. But the climate is changing — driven partly by the growing burden of cancer and the need to expand and diversify the workforce. The prevalence of cancer has increased substantially in Western countries,1,2 largely due to the ageing of the population: in Australia, by the age of 75 years, the risk of cancer is 1 in 3 in men and 1 in 4 in women.1

  • 1 Division of Community Health Sciences, University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh, UK.
  • 2 Centre for Primary Health Care and Equity, University of New South Wales, Sydney, NSW.


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