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Research project: Symptom prevalence and help seeking in patients at risk of lung cancer: exploratory feasibility study in primary care (CI: Corner)

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The study will explore the help seeking behaviour of patients with symptoms that might indicate early stages of lung cancer, and the factors that might inhibit or promote such help seeking.

The study will have two phases. Firstly, ten GP practice lists will be used to identify patients who are over 50 years old and have a history of smoking. These primary care patients will then be sent a patient-completed questionnaire to record symptoms and epidemiological risk factors. The questionnaire is based upon the IPCARD questionnaire previously developed by Brindle and Corner, and evaluated by Brindle, Corner and Wilson1, to identify symptoms indicative of lung cancer. From the questionnaire responses we will examine the rates, severity and duration of different symptoms reported amongst the patients. Case notes of patients will be retrieved to determine the patterns of help seeking behaviour in relation to symptoms reported through IPCARD, action taken by GPs, and the number of lung cancer cases for each practice at one year will be identified. Administering the questionnaire in this study will also help us to understand the practicality of its use in a primary care population to identify a group who might benefit from GP intervention, which would be developed and evaluated in a future trial.
In the second phase of the study we will invite approximately 45 respondents to the questionnaire to participate in an interview. Interviewees will be selected to represent different categories of reported symptom profiles and socio-economic backgrounds. The interview will explore the help seeking intentions of individuals experiencing symptoms potentially indicative of lung cancer, and the factors that may promote or inhibit them from such help seeking behaviour. The information provided by the interviews will allow us to better understand why some patients with symptoms delay seeking professional help. This understanding will help us to plan an intervention for a future trial, designed to promote earlier diagnosis of lung cancer by using a brief patient-completed questionnaire to assist early GP review of ‘at risk' patients. 
The study has been funded as part of the Department of Health led Cancer Research UK (CRUK) National Awareness and Early Diagnosis Initiative (NAEDI) for cancer.

Project Funder

Cancer Research UK NAEDI funding stream

Project Team

Corner J, Brindle L, Wagland R, Moore M



Related research groups

Complex Healthcare Processes
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