1166P - Awareness of the clinical presentation and diagnosis of neuroendocrine tumours in an Australian general physician population

Date 29 September 2012
Event ESMO Congress 2012
Session Poster presentation I
Topics Neuroendocrine Cancers
Presenter John Leyden
Authors J.C. Leyden
  • Anaesthesia, Royal North Shore Hospital, 2065 - St Leonards/AU

Abstract

Background

Neuroendocrine Tumours (NETs) are a rare group of malignancies where the correct diagnosis is often delayed for many years resulting in local and distant spread of the disease and mean 5 year survival rate of 30%. The diagnosis of NETs is challanging and requires the expertise of many medical specialists and diagnostic modalities. The General Physician (GP) is pivotal for early recognition, referral and management of this disease. The Unicorn Foundation, Australia's only charity directed to NET patient support, advocacy and research conducted a survey of Australian Physicians to determine knowledge of NETs. A secondary objective of the survey was to raise awareness of the disease in a broad medical population.

Methods

9952 registered medical practitioners received an introductory email requesting participation in the online “NET Awareness Survey”. The questions were presented as ‘best answer’ multiple choice format with the ability to choose ‘not sure’ as an option. 26 questions covering basic NET epidemiology, clinical pathology and presentation, diagnosis and referral pattern were included.

Results

The survey was open from July 2011 until December 2011. A population of 9552 registered medical practitioners received the email; 38% (3630) ‘opened’ the email and 7% (655) completed the survey. Of the survey respondants, 65% (425) were General Physicians. The results of the survey indicated a lack of awareness/knowledge regarding NET epidemiology; pathology; spectrum of disease (including metastatic potential) and use of Chromogranin A as a biomarker of the disease. The majority of the respondants acknowledged the difficulties of diagnosis; the myriad presenting symptoms and association of NETs with familial syndromes.

Conclusion

The survey results showed that a significant proportion of General Physicians had minimal knowledge of Neuroendocrine Tumours (NETs) and their behaviour and there was a general misunderstanding of appropriate investigations to facilitate diagnosis. Improved awareness of the NETs and investigative strategies to improve diagnosis are needed amongst medical practitioners especially those in general practice.

Disclosure

J.C. Leyden: This research project has been supported by unrestricted educational grant from Novartis Oncology, Ipsen Pharmaceutical and Pfizer Pharmaceutical.