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What prompts help-seeking for cancer 'alarm' symptoms? A primary care based survey.

Whitaker, KL, Smith, CF, Winstanley, K and Wardle, J (2016) What prompts help-seeking for cancer 'alarm' symptoms? A primary care based survey. BRITISH JOURNAL OF CANCER.

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Abstract

BACKGROUND: Encouraging prompt help-seeking for cancer symptoms can help shorten the patient interval and improve timely diagnosis. We explored factors associated with help-seeking in a primary care sample reporting 'alarm' symptoms. METHODS: A questionnaire was mailed to 9771 adults (⩾50 years of age and no cancer diagnosis) and 3766 (39%) returned it. Our sample included 1732 adults reporting at least one cancer 'alarm' symptom; with a total of 2726 symptoms. Respondents completed questions relating to help-seeking, demographic and symptom characteristics (e.g., type, knowledge, concern, interference and attribution). RESULTS: Over a third of people who reported a cancer 'alarm' symptom in the past 3 months had not sought help from a doctor. An unexplained lump (odds ratio (OR) 2.46, 1.42-4.26) and persistent unexplained pain (OR 1.79, 1.19-2.69) were associated with increased likelihood of help-seeking. Symptom concern (OR 3.10, 2.19-4.39) and interference (OR 3.06, 2.15-4.36) were associated with an increased likelihood of seeking help independently of symptom type. People who were not working (OR 1.41, 1.09-1.83), were married/cohabiting rather than single (OR 1.38, 1.10-1.74) and were older (60-69 years) rather than younger (50-59 years; OR 1.33, 1.02-1.75) were more likely to have sought help. CONCLUSIONS: Our findings highlighted symptom type and symptom characteristics as key drivers of help-seeking. We also found that there may be specific demographic groups where encouraging help-seeking might be warranted.British Journal of Cancer (2015) advance online publication 21 January 2016; doi:10.1038/bjc.2015.445 www.bjcancer.com.

Item Type: Article
Subjects : Health Sciences
Divisions : Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences
Authors :
AuthorsEmailORCID
Whitaker, KLUNSPECIFIEDUNSPECIFIED
Smith, CFUNSPECIFIEDUNSPECIFIED
Winstanley, KUNSPECIFIEDUNSPECIFIED
Wardle, JUNSPECIFIEDUNSPECIFIED
Date : 21 January 2016
Identification Number : 10.1038/bjc.2015.445
Related URLs :
Additional Information : This work is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Non-Commercial-Share Alike 4.0 International License. To view a copy of this license, visit http:// creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/4.0/
Depositing User : Symplectic Elements
Date Deposited : 03 Feb 2016 14:21
Last Modified : 03 Feb 2016 14:21
URI: http://epubs.surrey.ac.uk/id/eprint/809873

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