Lung cancer diagnosed following an emergency admission: exploring patient and carer perspectives on delay in seeking help

Caswell, Glenys and Seymour, Jane and Crosby, Vincent and Hussain, Asmah and Manderson, Cathann and Farnan, Sarah and Freer, Sarah and Freemantle, Alison and Littlewood, Fran and Wilcock, Andrew (2017) Lung cancer diagnosed following an emergency admission: exploring patient and carer perspectives on delay in seeking help. Supportive Care in Cancer . ISSN 1433-7339

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Abstract

Purpose

Compared to others, patients diagnosed with lung cancer following an emergency, unplanned admission to hospital (DFEA) have more advanced disease and poorer prognosis. Little is known about DFEA patients’ beliefs about cancer and its symptoms or about their help-seeking behaviours prior to admission.

Methods

As part of a larger single-centre, prospective mixed-methods study conducted in one University hospital, we undertook qualitative interviews with patients DFEA and their carers to obtain their understanding of symptoms and experiences of trying to access healthcare services before admission to hospital. Interviews were recorded and transcribed. Framework analysis was employed.

Results

Thirteen patients and 10 carers plus 3 bereaved carers took part in interviews. Three patient/carer dyads were interviewed together. Participants spoke about their symptoms and why they did not seek help sooner. They described complex and nuanced experiences. Some (n = 12) had what they recalled as the wrong symptoms for lung cancer and attributed them either to a pre-existing condition or to ageing. In other cases (n = 9), patients or carers realised with hindsight that their symptoms were signs of lung cancer, but at the time had made other attributions to account for them. In some cases (n = 3), a sudden onset of symptoms was reported. Some GPs (n = 6) were also reported to have made incorrect attributions about cause.

Conclusion

Late diagnosis meant that patients DFEA needed palliative support sooner after diagnosis than patients not DFEA. Professionals and lay people interpret health and illness experiences differently.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: The final publication is available at Springer via http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00520-017-3633-8
Keywords: Delay in help seeking; Diagnosed following emergency admission; Late diagnosis; Lay epidemiology; Lung cancer
Schools/Departments: University of Nottingham, UK > Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences > School of Health Sciences
University of Nottingham, UK > Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences > School of Medicine
Identification Number: https://doi.org/10.1007/s00520-017-3633-8
Depositing User: Eprints, Support
Date Deposited: 21 Feb 2017 12:10
Last Modified: 21 Feb 2017 13:44
URI: http://eprints.nottingham.ac.uk/id/eprint/40682

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