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Institute of Epidemiology & Health Care

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Help-seeking for possible cancer symptoms after a previous 'all clear' diagnosis

Limited data are available on the consequences of diagnostic examinations with an 'all clear' diagnosis on subsequent attitudes and help-seeking in case of new or recurrent potential cancer symptoms. A previous 'all clear' diagnosis can lead to delayed help-seeking due to normalisation of persistent symptoms or concerns about appearing hypochondriac. The aim of this project is to evaluate symptom awareness and help-seeking for cancer symptoms among people having previously undergone examinations which did not result in a cancer diagnosis. 

We have performed a community symptom survey and nested qualitative interview studies investigating psychological and socio-demographic correlates of symptom appraisal in an everyday context (without mention of cancer).

This project was funded by a Cancer Research UK Research Bursary for Clinicians awarded to Dr Cristina Renzi (2014).

Principal investigator: Dr Cristina Renzi

Contact: Dr Cristina Renzi (c.renzi[at]ucl.ac.uk)

Relevant publications

Renzi C, Whitaker KL, Winstanley K, Cromme S, Wardle J (2016) Unintended consequences of an 'all-clear diagnosis for potential cancer symptoms: a nested qualitative interview study with primary care patients. Br J Gen Pract 66: e158-e170, doi:10.3399/bjgp16X683845.

Salika T, Lyratzopoulos G, Whitaker KL, Waller J, Renzi C. Do comorbidities influence help-seeking for cancer alarm symptoms? A population-based survey in England. (Submitted)

Cromme SK, Whitaker KL, Winstanley K, Renzi C, Smith CF, Wardle J (2016) Worrying about wasting GP time as a barrier to help-seeking: a community-based, qualitative study. Br J Gen Pract 66: e474-e482, doi:10.3399/bjgp16X685621.

Whitaker KL, Cromme S, Winstanley K, Renzi C, Wardle J (2016) Emotional responses to the experience of cancer 'alarm' symptoms. Psychooncology 25: 567-573, doi:10.1002/pon.3964.

Winstanley K, Renzi C, Smith CF, Wardle J, Whitaker KL (2016) The impact of body vigilance on help-seeking for cancer 'alarm' symptoms: a community-based survey. BMC Public Health 16: 1172, doi:10.1186/s12889-016-3846-7.