Advanced

Patients' initial steps to cancer diagnosis in Denmark, England and Sweden : what can a qualitative, cross-country comparison of narrative interviews tell us about potentially modifiable factors?

MacArtney, John; Malmström, Marlene LU ; Overgaard Nielsen, Trine; Evans, Julie; Bernhardson, Britt-Marie; Hajdarevic, Senada; Chapple, Alison; Eriksson, Lars E; Locock, Louise and Rasmussen, Birgit LU , et al. (2017) In BMJ Open 7(11).
Abstract

OBJECTIVES: To illuminate patterns observed in International Cancer Benchmarking Programme studies by extending understanding of the various influences on presentation and referral with cancer symptoms.

DESIGN: Cross-country comparison of Denmark, England and Sweden with qualitative analysis of in-depth interview accounts of the prediagnostic process in lung or bowel cancer.

PARTICIPANTS: 155 women and men, aged between 35 and 86 years old, diagnosed with lung or bowel cancer in 6 months before interview.

SETTING: Participants recruited through primary and secondary care, social media and word of mouth. Interviews collected by social scientists or nurse researchers during 2015, mainly in participants'... (More)

OBJECTIVES: To illuminate patterns observed in International Cancer Benchmarking Programme studies by extending understanding of the various influences on presentation and referral with cancer symptoms.

DESIGN: Cross-country comparison of Denmark, England and Sweden with qualitative analysis of in-depth interview accounts of the prediagnostic process in lung or bowel cancer.

PARTICIPANTS: 155 women and men, aged between 35 and 86 years old, diagnosed with lung or bowel cancer in 6 months before interview.

SETTING: Participants recruited through primary and secondary care, social media and word of mouth. Interviews collected by social scientists or nurse researchers during 2015, mainly in participants' homes.

RESULTS: Participants reported difficulties in interpreting diffuse bodily sensations and symptoms and deciding when to consult. There were examples of swift referrals by primary care professionals in all three countries. In all countries, participants described difficulty deciding if and when to consult, highlighting concerns about access to general practitioner appointments and overstretched primary care services, although this appears less prominent in the Swedish data. It was not unusual for there to be more than one consultation before referral and we noted two distinct patterns of repeated consultation: (1) situations where the participant left the primary care consultation with a plan of action about what should happen next; (2) participants were unclear about under which conditions to return to the doctors. This second pattern sometimes extended over many weeks during which patients described uncertainty, and sometimes frustration, about if and when they should return and whether there were any other feasible investigations. The latter pattern appeared more evident in the interviews in England and Denmark than Sweden.

CONCLUSION: We suggest that if clear action plans, as part of safety netting, were routinely used in primary care consultations then uncertainty, false reassurance and the inefficiency and distress of multiple consultations could be reduced.

(Less)
Please use this url to cite or link to this publication:
author
, et al. (More)
(Less)
organization
publishing date
type
Contribution to journal
publication status
published
subject
in
BMJ Open
volume
7
issue
11
publisher
British Medical Journal Publishing Group
external identifiers
  • scopus:85045713666
ISSN
2044-6055
DOI
10.1136/bmjopen-2017-018210
language
English
LU publication?
yes
id
348c39c2-0930-45c0-8a1b-81d77801358b
date added to LUP
2018-02-14 10:05:45
date last changed
2018-10-03 11:57:56
@article{348c39c2-0930-45c0-8a1b-81d77801358b,
  abstract     = {<p>OBJECTIVES: To illuminate patterns observed in International Cancer Benchmarking Programme studies by extending understanding of the various influences on presentation and referral with cancer symptoms.</p><p>DESIGN: Cross-country comparison of Denmark, England and Sweden with qualitative analysis of in-depth interview accounts of the prediagnostic process in lung or bowel cancer.</p><p>PARTICIPANTS: 155 women and men, aged between 35 and 86 years old, diagnosed with lung or bowel cancer in 6 months before interview.</p><p>SETTING: Participants recruited through primary and secondary care, social media and word of mouth. Interviews collected by social scientists or nurse researchers during 2015, mainly in participants' homes.</p><p>RESULTS: Participants reported difficulties in interpreting diffuse bodily sensations and symptoms and deciding when to consult. There were examples of swift referrals by primary care professionals in all three countries. In all countries, participants described difficulty deciding if and when to consult, highlighting concerns about access to general practitioner appointments and overstretched primary care services, although this appears less prominent in the Swedish data. It was not unusual for there to be more than one consultation before referral and we noted two distinct patterns of repeated consultation: (1) situations where the participant left the primary care consultation with a plan of action about what should happen next; (2) participants were unclear about under which conditions to return to the doctors. This second pattern sometimes extended over many weeks during which patients described uncertainty, and sometimes frustration, about if and when they should return and whether there were any other feasible investigations. The latter pattern appeared more evident in the interviews in England and Denmark than Sweden.</p><p>CONCLUSION: We suggest that if clear action plans, as part of safety netting, were routinely used in primary care consultations then uncertainty, false reassurance and the inefficiency and distress of multiple consultations could be reduced.</p>},
  articleno    = {e018210},
  author       = {MacArtney, John and Malmström, Marlene and Overgaard Nielsen, Trine and Evans, Julie and Bernhardson, Britt-Marie and Hajdarevic, Senada and Chapple, Alison and Eriksson, Lars E and Locock, Louise and Rasmussen, Birgit and Vedsted, Peter and Tishelman, Carol and Andersen, Rikke Sand and Ziebland, Sue},
  issn         = {2044-6055},
  language     = {eng},
  month        = {11},
  number       = {11},
  publisher    = {British Medical Journal Publishing Group},
  series       = {BMJ Open},
  title        = {Patients' initial steps to cancer diagnosis in Denmark, England and Sweden : what can a qualitative, cross-country comparison of narrative interviews tell us about potentially modifiable factors?},
  url          = {http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/bmjopen-2017-018210},
  volume       = {7},
  year         = {2017},
}