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Clinical Trial Summary

The purpose of this study is to investigate what patients think about increasing provision of advice about how to detect cancer early and how to reduce their future cancer risk after they are discharged from a two-week wait referral pathway for suspected cancer. This study will send a postal survey to patients living in the UK who were recently referred onto the suspected cancer pathway and were discharged without a cancer diagnosis (i.e. a negative diagnosis). Patients will be presented with different types of support and patients' views of the burden, benefits, understanding and perceived effectiveness of each one will be measured.

Clinical Trial Description

In England, over 2 million patients are referred each year on urgent two-week wait (TWW) pathways to rule-out cancer of a single anatomical site. Referrals have increased by around 10% per year since 2015 (with the exception of 2020, due to the COVID-19 pandemic). The vast majority of those referred (93%) do not have cancer diagnosed. There is mounting evidence that patients who have previously experienced a symptom that after investigation turned out to be benign, often delay seeking help for subsequent symptoms. This is thought to occur because of over-reassurance from the previous 'all-clear' result leading to subsequent symptoms being interpreted as benign (extending the appraisal interval), concern about appearing hypochondriacal, not wanting to further bother the doctor or about the appropriate next actions. This is likely to be compounded by the impact of COVID-19 on help-seeking decisions and has implications for service provision. There may be scope to provide tailored support to those who are initially discharged without a cancer diagnosis to avoid missing cancers at other anatomical sites and to ensure subsequent cancers are diagnosed in a timely manner, at an early stage, or even prevented. For instance, patients could be offered information on common cancer signs, when/how to seek help for ongoing or new symptoms, facilitation to take part in cancer screening, and preventative advice. Indeed, referral for suspected cancer may be an under-utilised 'teachable moment' when people are more responsive and receptive to health information. There is currently a lack of support for those with a negative diagnosis after a TWW referral. Qualitative work indicates that there is currently no standardised approach to the information patients receive from healthcare professionals about future cancer risk or how to respond to new or recurring symptoms. It is important to assess feasibility and acceptability of interventions prior to evaluation of effectiveness. This allows implementation strategies to be incorporated into the design of interventions that will increase adoption and sustainment as well as being appropriate to the setting, providers and recipients. Yet at present it is not known what the feasibility and acceptability is of interventions linked to the TWW pathway. The objective of the proposed research is to obtain this information. ;

Study Design

Related Conditions & MeSH terms

NCT number NCT05479851
Study type Observational
Source King's College London
Contact Ruth Evans, PhD
Phone +44 2078480929
Email [email protected]
Status Not yet recruiting
Start date September 1, 2022
Completion date March 1, 2024

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