General Practice - Research Publications

Permanent URI for this collection

Search Results

Now showing 1 - 10 of 21
  • Item
    Thumbnail Image
    Cancer beliefs in ethnic minority populations: a review and meta-synthesis of qualitative studies
    Licqurish, S ; Phillipson, L ; Chiang, P ; Walker, J ; Walter, F ; Emery, J (WILEY, 2017-01-01)
    People from ethnic minorities often experience poorer cancer outcomes, possibly due to later presentation to healthcare and later diagnosis. We aimed to identify common cancer beliefs in minority populations in developed countries, which can affect symptom appraisal and help seeking for symptomatic cancer. Our systematic review found 15 relevant qualitative studies, located in the United Kingdom (six), United States (five), Australia (two) and Canada (two) of African, African-American, Asian, Arabic, Hispanic and Latino minority groups. We conducted a meta-synthesis that found specific emotional reactions to cancer, knowledge and beliefs and interactions with healthcare services as contributing factors in help seeking for a cancer diagnosis. These findings may be useful to inform the development of interventions to facilitate cancer diagnosis in minority populations.
  • Item
    Thumbnail Image
    The Improving Rural Cancer Outcomes Trial: a cluster-randomised controlled trial of a complex intervention to reduce time to diagnosis in rural cancer patients in Western Australia.
    Emery, JD ; Gray, V ; Walter, FM ; Cheetham, S ; Croager, EJ ; Slevin, T ; Saunders, C ; Threlfall, T ; Auret, K ; Nowak, AK ; Geelhoed, E ; Bulsara, M ; Holman, CDJ (Springer Science and Business Media LLC, 2018-03-20)
    This corrects the article DOI: 10.1038/bjc.2017.310.
  • Item
    Thumbnail Image
    The Aarhus statement on cancer diagnostic research: turning recommendations into new survey instruments
    Coxon, D ; Campbell, C ; Walter, FM ; Scott, SE ; Neal, RD ; Vedsted, P ; Emery, J ; Rubin, G ; Hamilton, W ; Weller, D (BMC, 2018-09-03)
    BACKGROUND: Over recent years there has been a growth in cancer early diagnosis (ED) research, which requires valid measurement of routes to diagnosis and diagnostic intervals. The Aarhus Statement, published in 2012, provided methodological guidance to generate valid data on these key pre-diagnostic measures. However, there is still a wide variety of measuring instruments of varying quality in published research. In this paper we test comprehension of self-completion ED questionnaire items, based on Aarhus Statement guidance, and seek input from patients, GPs and ED researchers to refine these questions. METHODS: We used personal interviews and consensus approaches to generate draft ED questionnaire items, then a combination of focus groups and telephone interviews to test comprehension and obtain feedback. A framework analysis approach was used, to identify themes and potential refinements to the items. RESULTS: We found that many of the questionnaire items still prompted uncertainty in respondents, in both routes to diagnosis and diagnostic interval measurement. Uncertainty was greatest in the context of multiple or vague symptoms, and potentially ambiguous time-points (such as 'date of referral'). CONCLUSIONS: There are limits on the validity of self-completion questionnaire responses, and refinements to the wording of questions may not be able to completely overcome these limitations. It's important that ED researchers use the best identifiable measuring instruments, but accommodate inevitable uncertainty in the interpretation of their results. Every effort should be made to increase clarity of questions and responses, and use of two or more data sources should be considered.
  • Item
    Thumbnail Image
    The LEAD study protocol: a mixed-method cohort study evaluating the lung cancer diagnostic and pre-treatment pathways of patients from Culturally and Linguistically Diverse (CALD) backgrounds compared to patients from Anglo-Australian backgrounds
    Mazza, D ; Lin, X ; Walter, FM ; Young, JM ; Barnes, DJ ; Mitchell, P ; Brijnath, B ; Martin, A ; Emery, JD (BMC, 2018-07-21)
    BACKGROUND: Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer mortality worldwide. Early diagnosis and treatment is a key factor in reducing mortality and improving patient outcomes. To achieve this, it is important to understand the diagnostic pathways of cancer patients. Patients from Culturally and Linguistically Diverse (CALD) are a vulnerable group for lung cancer with higher mortality rates than Caucasian patients. The aim of this study is to explore differences in the lung cancer diagnostic pathways between CALD and Anglo-Australian patients and factors underlying these differences. METHODS: This is a prospective, observational cohort study using a mixed-method approach. Quantitative data regarding time intervals in the lung cancer diagnostic pathways will be gathered via patient surveys, General practitioner (GP) review of general practice records, and case-note analysis of hospital records. Qualitative data will be gathered via structured interviews with lung cancer patients, GPs, and hospital specialists. The study will be conducted in five study sites across three states in Australia. Anglo-Australian patients and patients from five CALD groups (i.e., Arabic, Chinese, Greek, Italian and Vietnamese communities) will mainly be identified through the list of new cases presented at lung multidisciplinary team meetings. For the quantitative component, it is anticipated that 724 patients (362 Anglo-Australian and 362 CALD patients) will be recruited to obtain a final sample of 290 (145 per group) assuming a 50% patient survey completion rate and a 80% GP record review completion rate. For the qualitative component, 60 interviews with lung cancer patients (10 Anglo-Australian and 10 patients per CALD group), 20 interviews with GPs, and 20 interviews with specialists will be conducted. DISCUSSION: This is the first Australian study to compare the time intervals along the lung cancer diagnostic pathway between CALD and Anglo-Australian patients. The study will also explore the underlying patient, healthcare provider, and health system factors that influence the time intervals in the two groups. This information will improve our understanding of the effect of ethnicity on health outcomes among lung cancer patients and will inform future interventions aimed at early diagnosis and treatment for lung cancer, particularly patients from CALD backgrounds. TRIAL REGISTRATION: The project was retrospectively registered with Australian New Zealand Clinical Trials Registry (registration number: ACTRN12617000957392 , date registered: 4th July 2017).
  • Item
    Thumbnail Image
    Symptoms and other factors associated with time to diagnosis and stage of lung cancer: a prospective cohort study
    Walter, FM ; Rubin, G ; Bankhead, C ; Morris, HC ; Hall, N ; Mills, K ; Dobson, C ; Rintoul, RC ; Hamilton, W ; Emery, J (NATURE PUBLISHING GROUP, 2015-03-31)
    BACKGROUND: This prospective cohort study aimed to identify symptom and patient factors that influence time to lung cancer diagnosis and stage at diagnosis. METHODS: Data relating to symptoms were collected from patients upon referral with symptoms suspicious of lung cancer in two English regions; we also examined primary care and hospital records for diagnostic routes and diagnoses. Descriptive and regression analyses were used to investigate associations between symptoms and patient factors with diagnostic intervals and stage. RESULTS: Among 963 participants, 15.9% were diagnosed with primary lung cancer, 5.9% with other thoracic malignancies and 78.2% with non-malignant conditions. Only half the cohort had an isolated first symptom (475, 49.3%); synchronous first symptoms were common. Haemoptysis, reported by 21.6% of cases, was the only initial symptom associated with cancer. Diagnostic intervals were shorter for cancer than non-cancer diagnoses (91 vs 124 days, P=0.037) and for late-stage than early-stage cancer (106 vs 168 days, P=0.02). Chest/shoulder pain was the only first symptom with a shorter diagnostic interval for cancer compared with non-cancer diagnoses (P=0.003). CONCLUSIONS: Haemoptysis is the strongest symptom predictor of lung cancer but occurs in only a fifth of patients. Programmes for expediting earlier diagnosis need to focus on multiple symptoms and their evolution.
  • Item
    Thumbnail Image
    Implementing a QCancer risk tool into general practice consultations: an exploratory study using simulated consultations with Australian general practitioners
    Chiang, PP-C ; Glance, D ; Walker, J ; Walter, FM ; Emery, JD (NATURE PUBLISHING GROUP, 2015-03-31)
    BACKGROUND: Reducing diagnostic delays in primary care by improving the assessment of symptoms associated with cancer could have significant impacts on cancer outcomes. Symptom risk assessment tools could improve the diagnostic assessment of patients with symptoms suggestive of cancer in primary care. We aimed to explore the use of a cancer risk tool, which implements the QCancer model, in consultations and its potential impact on clinical decision making. METHODS: We implemented an exploratory 'action design' method with 15 general practitioners (GPs) from Victoria, Australia. General practitioners applied the risk tool in simulated consultations, conducted semi-structured interviews based on the normalisation process theory and explored issues relating to implementation of the tool. RESULTS: The risk tool was perceived as being potentially useful for patients with complex histories. More experienced GPs were distrustful of the risk output, especially when it conflicted with their clinical judgement. Variable interpretation of symptoms meant that there was significant variation in risk assessment. When a risk output was high, GPs were confronted with numerical risk outputs creating challenges in consultation. CONCLUSIONS: Significant barriers to implementing electronic cancer risk assessment tools in consultation could limit their uptake. These relate not only to the design and integration of the tool but also to variation in interpretation of clinical histories, and therefore variable risk outputs and strong beliefs in personal clinical intuition.
  • Item
    Thumbnail Image
    Risk prediction tools for cancer in primary care
    Usher-Smith, J ; Emery, J ; Hamilton, W ; Griffin, SJ ; Walter, FM (NATURE PUBLISHING GROUP, 2015-12-22)
    Numerous risk tools are now available, which predict either current or future risk of a cancer diagnosis. In theory, these tools have the potential to improve patient outcomes through enhancing the consistency and quality of clinical decision-making, facilitating equitable and cost-effective distribution of finite resources such as screening tests or preventive interventions, and encouraging behaviour change. These potential uses have been recognised by the National Cancer Institute as an 'area of extraordinary opportunity' and an increasing number of risk prediction models continue to be developed. The data on predictive utility (discrimination and calibration) of these models suggest that some have potential for clinical application; however, the focus on implementation and impact is much more recent and there remains considerable uncertainty about their clinical utility and how to implement them in order to maximise benefits and minimise harms such as over-medicalisation, anxiety and false reassurance. If the potential benefits of risk prediction models are to be realised in clinical practice, further validation of the underlying risk models and research to assess the acceptability, clinical impact and economic implications of incorporating them in practice are needed.
  • Item
    Thumbnail Image
    Protocol for the CHEST Australia Trial: a phase II randomised controlled trial of an intervention to reduce time-to-consult with symptoms of lung cancer
    Murray, SR ; Murchie, P ; Campbell, N ; Walter, FM ; Mazza, D ; Habgood, E ; Kutzer, Y ; Martin, A ; Goodall, S ; Barnes, DJ ; Emery, JD (BMJ PUBLISHING GROUP, 2015-01-01)
    INTRODUCTION: Lung cancer is the most common cancer worldwide, with 1.3 million new cases diagnosed every year. It has one of the lowest survival outcomes of any cancer because over two-thirds of patients are diagnosed when curative treatment is not possible. International research has focused on screening and community interventions to promote earlier presentation to a healthcare provider to improve early lung cancer detection. This paper describes the protocol for a phase II, multisite, randomised controlled trial, for patients at increased risk of lung cancer in the primary care setting, to facilitate early presentation with symptoms of lung cancer. METHODS/ANALYSIS: The intervention is based on a previous Scottish CHEST Trial that comprised of a primary-care nurse consultation to discuss and implement a self-help manual, followed by self-monitoring reminders to improve symptom appraisal and encourage help-seeking in patients at increased risk of lung cancer. We aim to recruit 550 patients from two Australian states: Western Australia and Victoria. Patients will be randomised to the Intervention (a health consultation involving a self-help manual, monthly prompts and spirometry) or Control (spirometry followed by usual care). Eligible participants are long-term smokers with at least 20 pack years, aged 55 and over, including ex-smokers if their cessation date was less than 15 years ago. The primary outcome is consultation rate for respiratory symptoms. ETHICS AND DISSEMINATION: Ethical approval has been obtained from The University of Western Australia's Human Research Ethics Committee (RA/4/1/6018) and The University of Melbourne Human Research Committee (1 441 433). A summary of the results will be disseminated to participants and we plan to publish the main trial outcomes in a single paper. Further publications are anticipated after further data analysis. Findings will be presented at national and international conferences from late 2016. TRIAL REGISTRATION NUMBER: Australian New Zealand Clinical Trial Registry ACTRN 1261300039 3752.
  • Item
    Thumbnail Image
    Symptom appraisal and healthcare-seeking for symptoms suggestive of colorectal cancer: a qualitative study
    Hall, N ; Birt, L ; Banks, J ; Emery, J ; Mills, K ; Johnson, M ; Rubin, GP ; Hamilton, W ; Walter, FM (BMJ PUBLISHING GROUP, 2015-01-01)
    OBJECTIVES: Timely diagnosis of colorectal cancer is important to improve survival. This study explored symptom appraisal and help-seeking among patients referred to specialist services with symptoms of colorectal cancer. DESIGN: Qualitative in-depth interview study. SETTING AND PARTICIPANTS: Participants were recruited on referral to gastroenterology clinics (North East and East of England); interviews were conducted soon after referral. We purposively sampled participants to ensure a range of accounts in terms of age, sex, diagnosis and geographical location. METHODS: Data collection and analysis were underpinned by the Model of Pathways to Treatment. Framework analysis was used to explore the data within and across cases, focusing on patient beliefs and experiences, disease factors and healthcare influences. RESULTS: 40 participants were interviewed (aged 43-87 years, 17 women, 18 diagnosed with colorectal cancer). Patients diagnosed with and without colorectal cancer had similar symptom pathways. We found a range of interacting and often competing biopsychosocial, contextual and cultural influences on the way in which people recognised, interpreted and acted on their symptoms. People attempted to 'maintain normality' through finding benign explanations for their symptoms. Bodily changes were appraised within the context of usual bowel patterns, comorbidities and life events, and decisions to seek help were made in relation to expectations about the course of symptoms. The 'private nature' of colorectal cancer symptoms could affect both their identification and discussions with others including healthcare professionals. Within the context of the National Health Service, people needed to legitimise appropriate use of healthcare services and avoid being thought of as wasting doctors' time. CONCLUSIONS: Findings provide guidance for awareness campaigns on reducing stigma around appraising and discussing bowel movements, and the importance of intermittent and non-specific symptoms. Altering perceptions about the appropriate use of health services could have a beneficial effect on time to presentation.
  • Item
    Thumbnail Image
    Understanding symptom appraisal and help-seeking in people with symptoms suggestive of pancreatic cancer: a qualitative study
    Mills, K ; Birt, L ; Emery, JD ; Hall, N ; Banks, J ; Johnson, M ; Lancaster, J ; Hamilton, W ; Rubin, GP ; Walter, FM (BMJ PUBLISHING GROUP, 2017-09-01)

    Objective

    Pancreatic cancer has poor survival rates due to non-specific symptoms leading to later diagnosis. Understanding how patients interpret their symptoms could inform approaches to earlier diagnosis. This study sought to explore symptom appraisal and help-seeking among patients referred to secondary care for symptoms suggestive of pancreatic cancer.

    Design

    Qualitative analysis of semistructured in-depth interviews. Data were analysed iteratively and thematically, informed by the Model of Pathways to Treatment.

    Participants and setting

    Pancreatic cancer occurs rarely in younger adults, therefore patients aged ≥40 years were recruited from nine hospitals after being referred to hospital with symptoms suggestive of pancreatic cancer; all were participants in a cohort study. Interviews were conducted soon after referral, and where possible, before diagnosis.

    Results

    Twenty-six interviews were conducted (cancer n=13 (pancreas n=9, other intra-abdominal n=4), non-cancer conditions n=13; age range 48-84 years; 14 women). Time from first symptoms to first presentation to healthcare ranged from 1 day to 270 days, median 21 days. We identified three main themes. Initial symptom appraisal usually began with intermittent, non-specific symptoms such as tiredness or appetite changes, attributed to diet and lifestyle, existing gastrointestinal conditions or side effects of medication. Responses to initial symptom appraisal included changes in meal type or frequency, or self-medication. Symptom changes such as alterations in appetite and enjoyment of food or weight loss usually prompted further appraisal. Triggers to seek help included a change or worsening of symptoms, particularly pain, which was often a 'tipping point'. Help-seeking was often encouraged by others. We found no differences in symptom appraisal and help-seeking between people diagnosed with cancer and those with other conditions.

    Conclusions

    Greater public and healthcare professional awareness of the combinations of subtle and intermittent symptoms, and their evolving nature, is needed to prompt timelier help-seeking and investigation among people with symptoms of pancreatic cancer.