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Experience of, awareness of and help-seeking for potential cancer symptoms in smokers and non-smokers: a cross-sectional study

Walabyeki, Julie, Adamson, Joy, Buckley, Hannah L, Sinclair, Helena, Atkin, Karl, Graham, Hilary, Whitaker, Katriina, Wardle, Jane and Macleod, Una (2017) Experience of, awareness of and help-seeking for potential cancer symptoms in smokers and non-smokers: a cross-sectional study PLoS ONE.

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Abstract

Abstract Background: Presenting to primary care with potential cancer symptoms is contingent on one’s ability to recognize potentially serious symptoms. We investigated differences between smokers and non-smokers in symptoms experienced, awareness and consulting of potential respiratory, head and neck cancer symptoms. Methods: Smokers and non-smokers aged over 50 from Yorkshire general practice lists were sent a postal questionnaire asking about symptoms, consulting and awareness of cancer symptoms. Data were analysed using STATA14. Results: Response rate after one reminder was 30.5% (1205/3954). Smoking status was associated with experience of cough (p<0.001), breathlessness (p=0.002) and tiredness (p=0.004) with smokers (25.8% of population) more likely than never-smokers (53.6% of population) to experience all three symptoms (cough OR=2.56;95%CI[1.75-3.75], breathlessness OR=2.39;95%CI[1.43-4.00], tiredness OR=1.57;95%CI[1.12-2.19]). Smoking status was associated with awareness of breathlessness as a potential cancer symptom (p=0.035) and consulting for cough (p=0.011) with smokers less likely to consult than never-smokers (OR=0.37;95% CI[0.17-0.80]). Conclusion: Our findings suggest that current smokers are more likely to experience cough, breathlessness and tiredness, but are less likely to consult for cough than never-smokers. To increase cancer awareness and promote consulting among smokers, innovative interventions improving symptom recognition and empowering smokers to seek help are required.

Item Type: Article
Divisions : Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences > School of Health Sciences
Authors :
NameEmailORCID
Walabyeki, JulieUNSPECIFIEDUNSPECIFIED
Adamson, JoyUNSPECIFIEDUNSPECIFIED
Buckley, Hannah LUNSPECIFIEDUNSPECIFIED
Sinclair, HelenaUNSPECIFIEDUNSPECIFIED
Atkin, KarlUNSPECIFIEDUNSPECIFIED
Graham, HilaryUNSPECIFIEDUNSPECIFIED
Whitaker, Katriinak.whitaker@surrey.ac.ukUNSPECIFIED
Wardle, JaneUNSPECIFIEDUNSPECIFIED
Macleod, UnaUNSPECIFIEDUNSPECIFIED
Date : 2017
Copyright Disclaimer : © 2017 Walabyeki et al. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.
Uncontrolled Keywords : Cancer awareness; Smoking status/smokers; Older people; Early diagnosis; Consulting/help-seeking; Cancer symptoms
Depositing User : Clive Harris
Date Deposited : 23 Aug 2017 15:24
Last Modified : 23 Aug 2017 15:24
URI: http://epubs.surrey.ac.uk/id/eprint/842020

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