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The role of chronic conditions in influencing symptom attribution and anticipated help-seeking for potential lung cancer symptoms: a vignette-based study

Kaushal, A; Waller, J; von Wagner, C; Kummer, S; Whitaker, K; Puri, A; Lyratzopoulos, G; (2020) The role of chronic conditions in influencing symptom attribution and anticipated help-seeking for potential lung cancer symptoms: a vignette-based study. BJGP Open 10.3399/bjgpopen20X101086. (In press). Green open access

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Abstract

BACKGROUND: Very little is known about the influence of chronic conditions on symptom attribution and help-seeking for potential cancer symptoms. AIM: To determine if symptom attribution and anticipated help-seeking for potential lung cancer symptoms is influenced by pre-existing respiratory conditions (often referred to as comorbidity), such as asthma or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). DESIGN & SETTING: A total of 2143 adults (1081 with and 1062 without a respiratory condition) took part in an online vignette survey. METHOD: The vignette described potential lung cancer symptoms (persistent cough and breathlessness) after which questions were asked on symptom attribution and anticipated help-seeking. RESULTS: Attribution of symptoms to cancer was similar in participants with and without respiratory conditions (21.5% and 22.1%, respectively). Participants with respiratory conditions, compared with those without, were more likely to attribute the new or changing cough and breathlessness to asthma or COPD (adjusted odds ratio [OR] = 3.64, 95% confidence interval [CI] = 3.02 to 4.39). Overall, 56.5% of participants reported intention to seek help from a GP within 3 weeks if experiencing the potential lung cancer symptoms. Having a respiratory condition increased the odds of prompt help-seeking (OR = 1.25, 95% CI = 1.04 to 1.49). Regular healthcare appointments were associated with higher odds of anticipated help-seeking. CONCLUSION: Only one in five participants identified persistent cough and breathlessness as potential cancer symptoms, and half said they would promptly seek help from a GP, indicating scope for promoting help-seeking for new or changing symptoms. Chronic respiratory conditions did not appear to interfere with anticipated help-seeking, which might be explained by regular appointments to manage chronic conditions.

Type: Article
Title: The role of chronic conditions in influencing symptom attribution and anticipated help-seeking for potential lung cancer symptoms: a vignette-based study
Location: England
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.3399/bjgpopen20X101086
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.3399/bjgpopen20X101086
Language: English
Additional information: This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the Creative Commons license, unless indicated otherwise in the credit line; if the material is not included under the Creative Commons license, users will need to obtain permission from the license holder to reproduce the material. To view a copy of this license, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/
Keywords: awareness, general practice, health knowledge, lung diseases (obstructive), lung neoplasms, primary health care
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Population Health Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Population Health Sciences > Institute of Epidemiology and Health
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Population Health Sciences > Institute of Epidemiology and Health > Behavioural Science and Health
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Population Health Sciences > Institute of Epidemiology and Health > Epidemiology and Public Health
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10108557
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