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Improving the diagnostic process for patients with possible bladder and kidney cancer: a mixed-methods study to identify potential missed diagnostic opportunities

Zhou, Yin; Singh, Hardeep; Hamilton, Willie; Archer, Stephanie; Tan, Sapphire; Brimicombe, James; Lyratzopoulos, Georgios; (2023) Improving the diagnostic process for patients with possible bladder and kidney cancer: a mixed-methods study to identify potential missed diagnostic opportunities. British Journal of General Practice 10.3399/BJGP.2022.0602. (In press). Green open access

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Abstract

BACKGROUND: Patients with bladder and kidney cancer may experience diagnostic delays. AIM: To identify patterns of suboptimal care and contributors of potential missed diagnostic opportunities (MDOs). DESIGN AND SETTING: Prospective, mixed-methods study recruiting participants from nine general practices in Eastern England between June 2018 and October 2019. METHOD: Patients with possible bladder and kidney cancer were identified using eligibility criteria based on National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) guidelines for suspected cancer. Primary care records were reviewed at recruitment and at 1 year for data on symptoms, tests, referrals, and diagnosis. Referral predictors were examined using logistic regression. Semi-structured interviews were undertaken with 15 patients to explore their experiences of the diagnostic process, and these were analysed thematically. RESULTS: Participants (n = 940) were mostly female (n = 657, 69.9%), with a median age of 71 years (interquartile range 64-77 years). In total, 268 (28.5%) received a referral and 465 (48.5%) had a final diagnosis of urinary tract infection (UTI). There were 33 (3.5%) patients who were diagnosed with cancer, including prostate (n = 17), bladder (n = 7), and upper urothelial tract (n = 1) cancers. Among referred patients, those who had a final diagnosis of UTI had the longest time to referral (median 81.5 days). Only one-third of patients with recurrent UTIs were referred despite meeting NICE referral guidelines. Qualitative findings revealed barriers during the diagnostic process, including inadequate clinical examination, female patients given repeated antibiotics without clinical reviews, and suboptimal communication of test results to patients. CONCLUSION: Older females with UTIs might be at increased risk of MDOs for cancer. Targeting barriers during the initial diagnostic assessment and follow-up might improve quality of diagnosis.

Type: Article
Title: Improving the diagnostic process for patients with possible bladder and kidney cancer: a mixed-methods study to identify potential missed diagnostic opportunities
Location: England
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.3399/BJGP.2022.0602
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.3399/BJGP.2022.0602
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: Bladder cancer, early diagnosis of cancer, kidney cancer, missed opportunities, primary health care
UCL classification: UCL
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 > 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
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10171641
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