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BACKGROUND: Patients with non-specific symptoms often experience longer times to diagnosis and poorer clinical outcomes than those with site-specific symptoms. This paper reports initial results from five multidisciplinary diagnostic centre (MDC) projects in England, piloting rapid referral for patients with non-specific symptoms. METHODS: The evaluation covered MDC activity from 1st December 2016 to 31st July 2018, with projects using a common dataset. Logistical regression analyses were conducted, with a diagnosis of any cancer as the dependent variable. Exploratory analysis was conducted on presenting symptoms and diagnoses of cancer, and on comparisons within these groupings. RESULTS: In total, 2961 patients were referred into the MDCs and 241 cancers were diagnosed. The pathway detected cancers across a broad range of tumour sites, including several rare and less common cancers. An association between patient age and cancer was identified (p 

Original publication




Journal article


Br J Cancer

Publication Date





722 - 729


Adult, Aged, Aged, 80 and over, Early Detection of Cancer, Female, Humans, Interdisciplinary Communication, Male, Middle Aged, Neoplasms, Patient Care Team, Referral and Consultation