General Practice - Research Publications

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    Quality of the diagnostic process in patients presenting with symptoms suggestive of bladder or kidney cancer: a systematic review
    Zhou, Y ; van Melle, M ; Singh, H ; Hamilton, W ; Lyratzopoulos, G ; Walter, FM (BMJ PUBLISHING GROUP, 2019-10-01)
    OBJECTIVES: In urological cancers, sex disparity exists for survival, with women doing worse than men. Suboptimal evaluation of presenting symptoms may contribute. DESIGN: We performed a systematic review examining factors affecting the quality of the diagnostic process of patients presenting with symptoms of bladder or kidney cancer. DATA SOURCES: We searched Medline, Embase and the Cochrane Library from 1 January 2000 to 13 June 2019. ELIGIBLE CRITERIA: We focused on one of the six domains of quality of healthcare: timeliness, and examined the quality of the diagnostic process more broadly, by assessing whether guideline-concordant history, examination, tests and referrals were performed. Studies describing the factors that affect the timeliness or quality of the assessment of urinary tract infections, haematuria and lower urinary tract symptoms in the context of bladder or kidney cancer, were included. DATA EXTRACTION AND SYNTHESIS: Data extraction and quality assessment were independently performed by two authors. Due to the heterogeneity of study design and outcomes, the results could not be pooled. A narrative synthesis was performed. RESULTS: 28 studies met review criteria, representing 583 636 people from 9 high-income countries. Studies were based in primary care (n=8), specialty care (n=12), or both (n=8). Up to two-thirds of patients with haematuria received no further evaluation in the 6 months after their initial visit. Urinary tract infections, nephrolithiasis and benign prostatic conditions before cancer diagnosis were associated with diagnostic delay. Women were more likely to experience diagnostic delay than men. Patients who first saw a urologist were less likely to experience delayed evaluation and cancer diagnosis. CONCLUSIONS: Women, and patients with non-cancerous urological diagnoses just prior to their cancer diagnosis, were more likely to experience lower quality diagnostic processes. Risk prediction tools, and improving guideline ambiguity, may improve outcomes and reduce sex disparity in survival for these cancers.
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    Development and validation of the African Women Awareness of CANcer (AWACAN) tool for breast and cervical cancer
    Moodley, J ; Scott, SE ; Mwaka, AD ; Constant, D ; Githaiga, JN ; Stewart, TS ; Payne, A ; Cairncross, L ; Somdyala, NIM ; Walter, FM ; Alizad, A (PUBLIC LIBRARY SCIENCE, 2019-08-06)
    BACKGROUND: Measuring factors influencing time to presentation is important in developing and evaluating interventions to promote timely cancer diagnosis, yet there is a lack of validated, culturally relevant measurement tools. This study aimed to develop and validate the African Women Awareness of CANcer (AWACAN) tool to measure awareness of breast and cervical cancer in Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA). METHODS: Development of the AWACAN tool followed 4 steps: 1) Item generation based on existing measures and relevant literature. 2) Refinement of items via assessment of content and face validity using cancer experts' ratings and think aloud interviews with community participants in Uganda and South Africa. 3) Administration of the tool to community participants, university staff and cancer experts for assessment of validity using test-retest reliability (using Intra-Class Correlation (ICC) and adjusted Kappa coefficients), construct validity (comparing expert and community participant responses using t-tests) and internal reliability (using the Kuder-Richarson (KR-20) coefficient). 4) Translation of the final AWACAN tool into isiXhosa and Acholi. RESULTS: ICC scores indicated good test-retest reliability (≥ 0.7) for all breast cancer knowledge domains and cervical cancer risk factor and lay belief domains. Experts had higher knowledge of breast cancer risk factors (p < 0.001), and cervical cancer risk factors (p = 0.003) and symptoms (p = 0.001) than community participants, but similar knowledge of breast cancer symptoms (p = 0.066). Internal reliability for breast cancer risk factors, lay beliefs and symptom and cervical cancer symptom subscales was good with KR-20 values > 0.7, and lower (0.6) for the cervical cancer risk subscale. CONCLUSION: The final AWACAN tool includes items on socio-demographic details; breast and cervical cancer symptom awareness, risk factor awareness, lay beliefs, anticipated help-seeking behaviour; and barriers to seeking care. The tools showed evidence of content, face, construct and internal validity and test-retrest reliability and are available for use in SSA in three languages.
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    Associations between diagnostic activity and measures of patient experience in primary care: a cross-sectional ecological study of English general practices
    Lyratzopoulos, G ; Mendonca, SC ; Gildea, C ; McPhail, S ; Peake, MD ; Rubin, G ; Singh, H ; Hamilton, W ; Walter, FM ; Roland, M ; Abel, GA (ROYAL COLL GENERAL PRACTITIONERS, 2018-01-01)
    BACKGROUND: Lower use of endoscopies and urgent referrals for suspected cancer has been linked to poorer outcomes for patients with cancer; it is important to examine potential predictors of variable use. AIM: To examine the associations between general practice measures of patient experience and practice use of endoscopies or urgent referrals for suspected cancer. DESIGN AND SETTING: Cross-sectional ecological analysis in English general practices. METHOD: Data were taken from the GP Patient Survey and the Cancer Services Public Health Profiles. After adjustment for practice population characteristics, practice-level associations were examined between the use of endoscopy and urgent referrals for suspected cancer, and the ability to book an appointment (used as proxy for ease of access), the ability to see a preferred doctor (used as proxy for relational continuity), and doctor/nurse communication skills. RESULTS: Taking into account practice scores for the ability to book an appointment, practices rated higher for the proxy measure of relational continuity used urgent referrals and endoscopies less often (for example, 30% lower urgent referral and 15% lower gastroscopy rates between practices in the 90th/10th centiles, respectively). In contrast, practices rated higher for doctor communication skills used urgent referrals and endoscopies more often (for example, 26% higher urgent referral and 17% higher gastroscopy rates between practices in the 90th/10th centiles, respectively). Patients with cancer in practices that were rated higher for doctor communication skills were less likely to be diagnosed as emergencies (1.7% lower between practices in the 90th than in the 10th centile). CONCLUSION: Practices where patients rated doctor communication highly were more likely to investigate and refer patients urgently but, in contrast, practices where patients could see their preferred doctor more readily were less likely to do so. This article discusses the possible implications of these findings for clinical practice.
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    Barrett's oESophagus trial 3 (BEST3): study protocol for a randomised controlled trial comparing the Cytosponge-TFF3 test with usual care to facilitate the diagnosis of oesophageal pre-cancer in primary care patients with chronic acid reflux
    Offman, J ; Muldrew, B ; O'Donovan, M ; Debiram-Beecham, I ; Pesola, F ; Kaimi, I ; Smith, SG ; Wilson, A ; Khan, Z ; Lao-Sirieix, P ; Aigret, B ; Walter, FM ; Rubin, G ; Morris, S ; Jackson, C ; Sasieni, P ; Fitzgerald, RC (BMC, 2018-08-03)
    BACKGROUND: Early detection of oesophageal cancer improves outcomes; however, the optimal strategy for identifying patients at increased risk from the pre-cancerous lesion Barrett's oesophagus (BE) is not clear. The Cytosponge, a novel non-endoscopic sponge device, combined with the biomarker Trefoil Factor 3 (TFF3) has been tested in four clinical studies. It was found to be safe, accurate and acceptable to patients. The aim of the BEST3 trial is to evaluate if the offer of a Cytosponge-TFF3 test in primary care for patients on long term acid suppressants leads to an increase in the number of patients diagnosed with BE. METHODS: The BEST3 trial is a pragmatic multi-site cluster-randomised controlled trial set in primary care in England. Approximately 120 practices will be randomised 1:1 to either the intervention arm, invitation to a Cytosponge-TFF3 test, or the control arm usual care. Inclusion criteria are men and women aged 50 or over with records of at least 6 months of prescriptions for acid-suppressants in the last year. Patients in the intervention arm will receive an invitation to have a Cytosponge-TFF3 test in their general practice. Patients with a positive TFF3 test will receive an invitation for an upper gastro-intestinal endoscopy at their local hospital-based endoscopy clinic to test for BE. The primary objective is to compare histologically confirmed BE diagnosis between the intervention and control arms to determine whether the offer of the Cytosponge-TFF3 test in primary care results in an increase in BE diagnosis within 12 months of study entry. DISCUSSION: The BEST3 trial is a well-powered pragmatic trial testing the use of the Cytosponge-TFF3 test in the same population that we envisage it being used in clinical practice. The data generated from this trial will enable NICE and other clinical bodies to decide whether this test is suitable for routine clinical use. TRIAL REGISTRATION: This trial was prospectively registered with the ISRCTN Registry on 19/01/2017, trial number ISRCTN68382401 .
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    BOADICEA: a comprehensive breast cancer risk prediction model incorporating genetic and nongenetic risk factors
    Lee, A ; Mavaddat, N ; Wilcox, AN ; Cunningham, AP ; Carver, T ; Hartley, S ; de Villiers, CB ; Izquierdo, A ; Simard, J ; Schmidt, MK ; Walter, FM ; Chatterjee, N ; Garcia-Closas, M ; Tischkowitz, M ; Pharoah, P ; Easton, DF ; Antoniou, AC (NATURE PUBLISHING GROUP, 2019-08-01)
    PURPOSE: Breast cancer (BC) risk prediction allows systematic identification of individuals at highest and lowest risk. We extend the Breast and Ovarian Analysis of Disease Incidence and Carrier Estimation Algorithm (BOADICEA) risk model to incorporate the effects of polygenic risk scores (PRS) and other risk factors (RFs). METHODS: BOADICEA incorporates the effects of truncating variants in BRCA1, BRCA2, PALB2, CHEK2, and ATM; a PRS based on 313 single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) explaining 20% of BC polygenic variance; a residual polygenic component accounting for other genetic/familial effects; known lifestyle/hormonal/reproductive RFs; and mammographic density, while allowing for missing information. RESULTS: Among all factors considered, the predicted UK BC risk distribution is widest for the PRS, followed by mammographic density. The highest BC risk stratification is achieved when all genetic and lifestyle/hormonal/reproductive/anthropomorphic factors are considered jointly. With all factors, the predicted lifetime risks for women in the UK population vary from 2.8% for the 1st percentile to 30.6% for the 99th percentile, with 14.7% of women predicted to have a lifetime risk of ≥17-<30% (moderate risk according to National Institute for Health and Care Excellence [NICE] guidelines) and 1.1% a lifetime risk of ≥30% (high risk). CONCLUSION: This comprehensive model should enable high levels of BC risk stratification in the general population and women with family history, and facilitate individualized, informed decision-making on prevention therapies and screening.
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    Associations between general practice characteristics with use of urgent referrals for suspected cancer and endoscopies: a cross-sectional ecological study
    Mendonca, SC ; Abel, GA ; Gildea, C ; McPhail, S ; Peake, MD ; Rubin, G ; Singh, H ; Hamilton, W ; Walter, FM ; Roland, MO ; Lyratzopoulos, G (OXFORD UNIV PRESS, 2019-10-01)
    BACKGROUND: Large variation in measures of diagnostic activity has been described previously between English general practices, but related predictors remain understudied. OBJECTIVE: To examine associations between general practice population and characteristics, with the use of urgent referrals for suspected cancer, and use of endoscopy. METHODS: Cross-sectional observational study of English general practices. We examined practice-level use (/1000 patients/year) of urgent referrals for suspected cancer, gastroscopy, flexible sigmoidoscopy and colonoscopy. We used mixed-effects Poisson regression to examine associations with the sociodemographic profile of practice populations and other practice attributes, including the average age, sex and country of qualification of practice doctors. RESULTS: The sociodemographic characteristics of registered patients explained much of the between-practice variance in use of urgent referrals (32%) and endoscopic investigations (18-25%), all being higher in practices with older and more socioeconomically deprived patients. Practice-level attributes explained a substantial amount of between-practice variance in urgent referral (19%) but little of the variance in endoscopy (3%-4%). Adjusted urgent referral rates were higher in training practices and those with younger GPs. Practices with mean doctor ages of 41 and 57 years (at the 10th/90th centiles of the national distribution) would have urgent referral rates of 24.1 and 19.1/1000 registered patients, P < 0.001. CONCLUSION: Most between-practice variation in use of urgent referrals and endoscopies seems to reflect health need. Some practice characteristics, such as the mean age of GPs, are associated with appreciable variation in use of urgent referrals, though these associations do not seem strong enough to justify targeted interventions.
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    BOADICEA: a comprehensive breast cancer risk prediction model incorporating genetic and nongenetic risk factors (vol 21, pg 1462, 2019)
    Lee, A ; Mavaddat, N ; Wilcox, AN ; Cunningham, AP ; Carver, T ; Hartley, S ; de Villiers, CB ; Izquierdo, A ; Simard, J ; Schmidt, MK ; Walter, FM ; Chatterjee, N ; Garcia-Closas, M ; Tischkowitz, M ; Pharoah, P ; Easton, DF ; Antoniou, AC (SPRINGERNATURE, 2019-06-01)
    This has now been corrected in both the PDF and HTML versions of the Article. The authors regret this error.
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    Incidence of second and higher order smoking-related primary cancers following lung cancer: a population-based cohort study
    Barclay, ME ; Lyratzopoulos, G ; Walter, FM ; Jefferies, S ; Peake, MD ; Rintoul, RC (BMJ PUBLISHING GROUP, 2019-05-01)
    BACKGROUND: Lung cancer 5-year survival has doubled over 15 years. Although the risk of second primary cancer is recognised, quantification over time is lacking. We describe the incidence of second and higher order smoking-related primary cancers in lung cancer survivors, identifying high-incidence groups and how incidence changes over time from first diagnosis. METHODS: Data on smoking-related primary cancers (lung, laryngeal, head and neck, oesophageal squamous cell carcinoma and bladder) diagnosed in England between 2000 and 2014 were obtained from Public Health England National Cancer Registration and Analysis Service. We calculated absolute incidence rates and standardised incidence rate ratios, both overall and for various subgroups of second primary cancer for up to 10 years from the initial diagnosis of lung cancer, using Poisson regression. RESULTS: Elevated incidence of smoking-related second primary cancer persists for at least 10 years from first lung cancer diagnosis with those aged 50 and 79 at first diagnosis at particularly high risk. The most frequent type of second malignancy was lung cancer although the highest standardised incidence rate ratios were for oesophageal squamous cell carcinoma (2.4) and laryngeal cancers (2.8) and consistently higher in women than in men. Over the last decade, the incidence of second primary lung cancer has doubled. CONCLUSION: Lung cancer survivors have increased the incidence of subsequent lung, laryngeal, head and neck and oesophageal squamous cell carcinoma for at least a decade from the first diagnosis. Consideration should be given to increasing routine follow-up from 5 years to 10 years for those at highest risk, alongside surveillance for other smoking-related cancers.
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    Defining unmet clinical need across the pathway of brain tumor care: a patient and carer perspective
    Sage, W ; Fernandez-Mendez, R ; Crofton, A ; Gifford, MJ ; Bannykh, A ; Chrysaphinis, C ; Tingley, E ; Bulbecks, H ; Brahmbhatt, M ; Pickard, JD ; Walter, FM ; Brodbelt, A ; Price, SJ ; Joannides, AJ (DOVE MEDICAL PRESS LTD, 2019-01-01)
    OBJECTIVE: The aim of this study was to determine the experience of patients with brain tumors and their carers across distinct parts of their treatment pathway and identify their views on potential service gaps in need of addressing. METHODS: A structured survey was administered at patient workshops across the UK and online through a charity newsletter. Answers to closed questions were analyzed using descriptive statistics, and open questions were examined using techniques of inductive content analysis. RESULTS: A total of 136 survey responses were received, representing patients with a variety of diagnoses and geographical locations (30 counties). There was a wide range of opinions on the provision of current neuro-oncology services. Key themes identified included a perceived lack of information provision, a gap in postdischarge psychological and neuropsychological supports, and an unmet willingness for involvement in research. CONCLUSION: This national survey enhances our knowledge of current patient and carer experience within neuro-oncology services. A number of areas of unmet clinical need are highlighted providing a basis for informing future patient-centered service improvements and research.
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    Achieving Self-Directed Integrated Cancer Aftercare (ASICA) in melanoma: protocol for a randomised patient-focused pilot trial of delivering the ASICA intervention as a means to earlier detection of recurrent and second primary melanoma
    Murchie, P ; Masthoff, J ; Walter, FM ; Rahman, K ; Allan, JL ; Burrows, N ; Proby, C ; Lee, AJ ; Johnston, M ; Durrani, A ; Depasquale, I ; Brant, B ; Neilson, A ; Meredith, F ; Treweek, S ; Hall, S ; McDonald, A (BMC, 2019-06-03)
    BACKGROUND: Melanoma is common; 15,906 people in the UK were diagnosed with melanoma in 2015 and incidence has increased fivefold in 30 years. Melanoma affects old and young people, with poor prognosis once metastatic. UK guidelines recommend people treated for cutaneous melanoma receive extended outpatient, hospital follow up to detect recurrence or new primaries. Such follow up of the growing population of melanoma survivors is burdensome for both individuals and health services. Follow up is important since approximately 20% of patients with early-stage melanoma experience a recurrence and 4-8% develop a new primary; the risk of either is highest in the first 5 years. Achieving Self-directed Integrated Cancer Aftercare (ASICA) is a digital intervention to increase total-skin-self-examination (TSSE) by people treated for melanoma, with usual follow up. METHODS: We aim to recruit 240 adults with a previous first-stage 0-2C primary cutaneous melanoma, from secondary care in North-East Scotland and the East of England. Participants will be randomised to receive the ASICA intervention (a tablet-based digital intervention to prompt and support TSSE) or control group (treatment as usual). Patient-reported and clinical data will be collected at baseline, including the modified Melanoma Worry Scale (MWS), the Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale (HADs), the EuroQoL 5-dimension 5-level questionnaire (EQ-5D-5 L), and questions about TSSE practice, intentions, self-efficacy and planning. Participants will be followed up by postal questionnaire at 3, 6 and 12 months following randomization, along with a 12-month review of clinical data. The primary timepoint for outcome analyses will be12 months after randomisation. DISCUSSION: If the ASICA intervention improves the practice of TSSE in those affected by melanoma, this may lead to improved psychological well-being and earlier detection of recurrent and new primary melanoma. This could impact both patients and National Health Service (NHS) resources. This study will determine if a full-scale randomised controlled trial can be undertaken in the UK NHS to provide the high-quality evidence needed to determine the effectiveness of the intervention. ASICA is a pilot study evaluating the effectiveness of the practice of digitally supported TSSE in those affected by melanoma. TRIAL REGISTRATION: Clinical Trials.gov, NCT03328247 . Registered on 1 November 2017.