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The University of Southampton
Health Sciences
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Dr Lucy A Brindle BA, PhD

Associate Professor in Early Diagnosis Research

Dr Lucy A Brindle's photo

Dr Lucy Brindle is Associate Professor in Early Diagnosis Research at the University of Southampton. Lucy's research combines epidemiology and social sciences to develop complex interventions for improving earlier diagnosis and patient decision support.

The integration of medical and social sciences provides new ways of understanding current challenges in health care, making possible the identification and development of innovative health care solutions.

Lucy Brindle, an epidemiologist and social scientist, is leading a programme of improving earlier cancer diagnosis research that integrates symptom epidemiology and health communication research to develop complex interventions for primary and secondary care.

She is chief investigator for the Catric and Understanding Consequences studies, developing interventions and e-learning resources to improve communication about possible cancer, and for completed symptomatic diagnosis studies in primary and secondary care.  Her programme of research includes funded PhD studentships exploring pathways to cancer diagnosis, symptomatic diagnosis, and the surveillance of low risk and pre-malignant cancers.

Lucy is currently leading education provision within the School of Health Sciences that integrates research with education to develop innovative approaches to teaching diagnostic reasoning skills, and support for patient involvement in diagnosis and treatment decision-making.



Research interests

Lucy’s research involves collaborations with research groups across the UK and Internationally.

  • Risk, epidemiology and medical sociology: Improving the calculation, presentation and communication of risk; understanding the uptake and implications of risk-based health technologies; surveillance of ‘at-risk' groups and early cancers
  • Improving earlier cancer diagnosis
  • Symptom epidemiology and interpretation of early symptoms

Previous research:

  • Improving recruitment to trials
  • The construction of risk in pre-symptomatic diagnostic and predictive testing
  • Family communication about genetic disorders and risks to health
  • Support for preference-sensitive treatment decision-making

PhD supervision

  • Weiqi Liao - Exploring the relationship between socioeconomic status, risk factors and typical pathways to late cancer diagnosis
  • Ruth Reeve - Surveillance of pancreatic cystic lesions
  • Simon Stewart - Partner involvement in prostate cancer consultations
  • Nor Azura Azmi - Impact of training on Malaysian respiratory physiotherapists ability to detect velcro crackles from pre-recorded lung sounds
  • Wanicha Pungchompoo - Development of a VOICES questionnaire for ESRD (Thai version)
  • Mary Milne - Breast Cancer Survivorship
  • Isabel Madechangu - Validation of lung cancer risk indicators and development of a triage system for Chest Clinic referrals suspicious for lung cancer
  • Amelia Abbott - Adult children’s perceptions of risk for their parents with dementia: a narrative analysis
  • Joanna Shim – Symptomatic diagnosis of lung cancer in a population referred to lung-shadow clinic with high rates of chronic respiratory diseases: A feasibility study
  • Sally Moore -  The social construction of lung cancer: An analysis of lung cancer representations in UK media

Research group

Cancer and Life Limiting Conditions

Research theme

Health Needs

Research project(s)

Catric Study: Identifying optimal patient-GP communication about safety-netting, direct access tests, and referral for investigation of possible cancer (CI: Brindle)

The Catric Study is investigating how GP-patient communication might be optimised to effectively convey information about diagnostic tests, cancer risk, and implications of test results, whilst being responsive to patients’ preferences for information and concerns about cancer.

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

NAEDI funded study exploring 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.

True Nth UK Decision Support: Understanding consequences of prostate cancer treatments (Cl: Brindle)

TrueNTH Decision Support: This is part of a global TrueNTH project to develop and evaluate a complex treatment decision support intervention 'decision aid' for men with low or -to-intermediate risk prostate cancer (CI: Brindle).

Using a participant-completed questionnaire to identify symptoms that predict lung cancer: A feasibility study (Current CI: Brindle)

An NIHR NSPCR funded study to evaluate and refine the IPCARD questionnaire in a GP-referred population. (Oct. 2010 - April 2013)

SPUTNIK (IPCARD sub-study) CI: Steve George

Investigation of the use of IPCARD to distinguish between malignant and benign pulmonary nodules in the SPUTNIK trial.

CANDID (Clinical prediction rules for colorectal/lung cancer) CI: Paul Little

Prospective primary care study using IPCARD to obtain predictive values for potential lung cancer symptoms (CANDID CI: Paul Little; IPCARD lead - Brindle)

IPCARD Chest Clinic Study (CI: Brindle)

Prospective study using IPCARD to identify lung cancer symptoms in a population with high rates of respiratory disease (PhD studentship - J. Shim); identify differences between symptoms of operable and inoperable LC; and identify symptoms in a population without COPD.

Improving earlier lung cancer diagnosis (Research councils UK Postdoctoral Fellowship 2005 – 2011)

Dr Brindle's fellowship developed a symptoms, risks and co-morbidities questionnaire (IPCARD) for use in future prospective studies to obtain predictive values of symptoms for lung cancer.  A second strand of research explored communication about early symptoms to develop symptom elicitation interventions for integration into decision support aids, and to explore help-seeking.

Mapping and understanding the scope and role of specialist cancer helplines in the UK and the barriers and enablers to maximizing their effectiveness

This project aims to map cancer helplines in the UK and understand the communication processes used by callers and helpline agents.

Health Sciences' ESRC Doctoral Training Centre Lead

CRUK Population Sciences Committee, Early Cancer Diagnosis panel (2019 - )

Yorkshire Cancer Research, Research Advisory Panel (2016 - )

Member of NCRI Primary Care Clinical Studies Group (2014 – 2019)

TrueNTH UK Treatment Decision Support Lead (2014 – 2017)

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Diagnostic Assessment & Decision Making Module Lead (MSc)

MN Research Project Module, and MSc Dissertation Module teaching

MRES Clinical & Health Research Deputy Programme Lead: 2014 – 2019

ESRC Social Science Methods for Health Research Doctoral Pathway Lead

Individual session teaching: Diagnostic epidemiology; health communication research; research methods

Dr Lucy A Brindle
University of Southampton, Health Sciences, Building 67, Highfield, Southampton SO17 1BJ
Tel: 02380 598526

Room Number : 67/4005

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