|We know that people often find it difficult to decide when they should visit their GP. We are trying to find out what people understand about certain symptoms and what may help or hinder their decision to ask a doctor about them. We are interested in a range of symptoms. We will compare how people interpret their symptoms, and what leads them to decide to seek medical help.|
|The mixed methods design involves: (a) a questionnaire-based study of patients referred to hospital for specific symptoms; (b) an in-depth qualitative interview study.|
|Eligible patients referred by their GP to one of the participating hospitals with certain symptoms are identified by a research nurse who sends them a study pack in the mail. This pack includes an invitation letter, an information sheet, a questionnaire (including a consent form) and a FREEPOST envelope.|
|a) The first phase of the study involves self-completion of the questionnaire. Questions are asked about specific symptoms experienced and their duration before seeking healthcare. The participants are also asked to provide details of their age, gender, marital status, ethnicity, occupation, family history, smoking and education. The questionnaire is relatively short (20 questions) and takes about 10 minutes to complete.To track the pathway from first recognition of symptoms to diagnosis, the study team asks for specific consent from the participants both to contact their GP to establish when certain symptoms were first presented, and to determine the diagnosis from the hospital notes.|
b) The second phase of the study involves in-depth interviews with some of the participants to provide further information on their understanding of their symptoms and the factors involved when deciding to make an appointment to see their doctor. We will interview approximately 120 participants.
|This study will identify patient and symptom factors associated with later presentation to health care, and whether these factors are associated with stage of condition at diagnosis. The in-depth interviews will provide a richer understanding of patient interpretation of symptoms and the language used by patients to describe these symptoms.|
|The study started on 22nd November 2010, recruiting patients referred to Addenbrooke’s and Papworth Hospitals in Cambridgeshire, North Tees Hospital in Stockton and Hartlepool Hospital. In November 2011, recruitment expanded to include University Hospital of North Durham, Darlington Memorial Hospital and West Suffolk Hospital.We are extremely grateful to all the research nurses for their committment to the study and their hard work recruiting participants.
Study update: 17th April 2015
Recruitment has now closed.
A total of 18,876 study packs were sent out, with a total of 4037 questionnaires completed and returned to the study team.
Response rate: 21%.
The respiratory symptom analysis has been completed. A summary of findings can be found on our publications and downloads web page.
The colorectal symptom analysis is in completion and findings will be published on our website soon.
All diagnoses for participants in the pancreatic symptom cohort have been collected and the analysis is due to start in mid-April.
101 participants have been interviewed to understand how they recognised symptoms and how they responded.
The analysis of the respiratory and colorectal patient groups has been completed. The pancreatic group analysis is in progress.