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Cohort study
Predictive values of GPs’ suspicion of serious disease are high enough to warrant subsequent investigation
  1. Knut Holtedahl
  1. Department of Community Medicine, UiT The Arctic University of Norway, Tromsø, Norway
  1. Correspondence to : Professor Knut Holtedahl, Department of Community Medicine, UiT The Arctic University of Norway, N-9037 Tromsø, Norway; knut.holtedahl{at}

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Although general practitioners (GPs) act as gatekeepers to further investigation into patients’ medical issues, much is unknown about what factors cause them to suspect serious disease and to what extent such suspicions correspond with final diagnoses, especially in the case of cancer. The cohort study conducted by Hjertholm et al attempts to answer these questions, while also examining what actions are taken by GPs when serious disease is suspected.


GPs in a region of Denmark were invited to participate in a 1-day registration of data concerning consulting patients, including a final question, “Are you left with the slightest suspicion of cancer or another serious disease?” Of the invited GPs, 404 (46%) …

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  • Competing interests None.

  • Provenance and peer review Commissioned; internally peer reviewed.