Episode 146: Investigating the signals in primary care prescribing before a diagnosis of bladder or renal cancer


In this episode, we talk to Dr Garth Funston, who is a Clinical Senior Lecturer in Primary Care Cancer Research within the Wolfson Institute of Population Health at Queen Mary University of London.

Title of paper: Pre-diagnostic prescription patterns in bladder and renal cancer: a longitudinal linked data study

Available at:

Previous studies have demonstrated that prescription rates for certain medications increase many months before the diagnosis of some cancers. Determining whether prescribing for common urological clinical features increases in patients with renal and bladder cancer could help us identify opportunities for more timely diagnosis. We found that prescription rates for UTI medications increased 9 months before bladder and renal cancer diagnosis, with an even earlier increase occurring before bladder cancer diagnosis in women (11 months). This indicates that there is a window of opportunity in which investigation and referral could lead to earlier cancer detection in some patients presenting to their GP with features of UTI.


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