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Biomarkers for the early detection of gastro-intestinal cancers in primary care
Gastrointestinal (GI) symptoms are common in the community. It is important that general practitioners can tell apart serious conditions such as cancer from less serious conditions like irritable bowel syndrome. However, this is difficult because symptoms of cancer can be very non-specific. As a result, many patients are referred for endoscopy (an invasive procedure), and most of them will be found not to have cancer.
Lots of research is being done looking at biomarkers (markers that can be detected in blood or urine for example and can be used to differentiate between the presence or absence of disease such as cancer), but most of this research is being done in specialist settings. We are carrying out a systematic review to identify biomarkers that have the potential to be used in primary care to help with the early detection of GI cancers.