The University of Southampton
University of Southampton Institutional Repository

Uncertainty and anxiety in the cancer of unknown primary patient journey: a multiperspective qualitative study

Uncertainty and anxiety in the cancer of unknown primary patient journey: a multiperspective qualitative study
Uncertainty and anxiety in the cancer of unknown primary patient journey: a multiperspective qualitative study
Background Patients with cancer of unknown primary (CUP) have metastatic malignant disease without an identifiable primary site; it is the fourth most common cause of cancer death.

Objectives To explore patients’ informal and professional carers’ experiences of CUP to inform development of evidence-based, patient-centred care.

Methods Qualitative study involving development of multiple exploratory case studies, each comprising a patient and nominated informal and professional carers, with contextual data extracted from medical records.

Results 17 CUP patients, 14 informal and 13 professional carers participated in the study. Two inter-related themes distinct to CUP emerged: uncertainty and continuity of care. In the absence of a primary diagnosis, patients and informal carers experienced uncertainty regarding prognosis, possible recurrence and the primary's hereditary potential. Professional carers experienced difficulty communicating uncertainty to patients, ambiguity in deciding optimal treatment plans in the absence of trial data and a test or treat dilemma: when to discontinue seeking the primary and start treatment. Common problems with care continuity were amplified for CUP patients relating to coordination, accountability and timeliness of care. The remit of multidisciplinary teams (MDTs) often excluded CUP, leading to “MDT tennis” where patients were “bounced” between MDTs.

Conclusions The experience of those with CUP is distinctive and it can serve to amplify some of the issues encountered by people with cancer. The clinical uncertainties related to CUP compound existing shortcomings in continuity of care, increasing the likelihood of a disrupted patient journey. However, while little can be done to overcome uncertainty, more could be done to address issues regarding continuity of care.
2045-435X
Richardson, A.
3db30680-aa47-43a5-b54d-62d10ece17b7
Wagland, R.
16a44dcc-29cd-4797-9af2-41ef87f64d08
Foster, R.
Symons, J.
1347143c-52aa-4be1-b06f-67bb38b8da2a
Davis, C.
b98148c3-cb02-4943-91a4-7ae0a23c681e
Boyland, L.
fbe3cd92-73a1-436d-b0c8-a8e37cb5cbed
Foster, C.
00786ac1-bd47-4aeb-a0e2-40e058695b73
Addington-Hall, J.
87560cc4-7562-4f9b-b908-81f3b603fdd8
Richardson, A.
3db30680-aa47-43a5-b54d-62d10ece17b7
Wagland, R.
16a44dcc-29cd-4797-9af2-41ef87f64d08
Foster, R.
Symons, J.
1347143c-52aa-4be1-b06f-67bb38b8da2a
Davis, C.
b98148c3-cb02-4943-91a4-7ae0a23c681e
Boyland, L.
fbe3cd92-73a1-436d-b0c8-a8e37cb5cbed
Foster, C.
00786ac1-bd47-4aeb-a0e2-40e058695b73
Addington-Hall, J.
87560cc4-7562-4f9b-b908-81f3b603fdd8

Richardson, A., Wagland, R., Foster, R., Symons, J., Davis, C., Boyland, L., Foster, C. and Addington-Hall, J. (2013) Uncertainty and anxiety in the cancer of unknown primary patient journey: a multiperspective qualitative study. BMJ Supportive & Palliative Care. (doi:10.1136/bmjspcare-2013-000482).

Record type: Article

Abstract

Background Patients with cancer of unknown primary (CUP) have metastatic malignant disease without an identifiable primary site; it is the fourth most common cause of cancer death.

Objectives To explore patients’ informal and professional carers’ experiences of CUP to inform development of evidence-based, patient-centred care.

Methods Qualitative study involving development of multiple exploratory case studies, each comprising a patient and nominated informal and professional carers, with contextual data extracted from medical records.

Results 17 CUP patients, 14 informal and 13 professional carers participated in the study. Two inter-related themes distinct to CUP emerged: uncertainty and continuity of care. In the absence of a primary diagnosis, patients and informal carers experienced uncertainty regarding prognosis, possible recurrence and the primary's hereditary potential. Professional carers experienced difficulty communicating uncertainty to patients, ambiguity in deciding optimal treatment plans in the absence of trial data and a test or treat dilemma: when to discontinue seeking the primary and start treatment. Common problems with care continuity were amplified for CUP patients relating to coordination, accountability and timeliness of care. The remit of multidisciplinary teams (MDTs) often excluded CUP, leading to “MDT tennis” where patients were “bounced” between MDTs.

Conclusions The experience of those with CUP is distinctive and it can serve to amplify some of the issues encountered by people with cancer. The clinical uncertainties related to CUP compound existing shortcomings in continuity of care, increasing the likelihood of a disrupted patient journey. However, while little can be done to overcome uncertainty, more could be done to address issues regarding continuity of care.

Text
Uncertainty and anxiety in the cancer of unknown primary patient journey a multiperspective qualitative study.pdf - Other
Restricted to Repository staff only
Request a copy
Text
CUP Study_BMJ_SPC_Richardson_(2013).docx - Other
Download (73kB)

More information

e-pub ahead of print date: 13 November 2013
Organisations: Faculty of Health Sciences

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 360046
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/360046
ISSN: 2045-435X
PURE UUID: 85761865-8848-4760-9112-b668e24c9253
ORCID for A. Richardson: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0003-3127-5755
ORCID for R. Wagland: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0003-1825-7587
ORCID for C. Foster: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0002-4703-8378

Catalogue record

Date deposited: 22 Nov 2013 10:30
Last modified: 07 Oct 2020 07:46

Export record

Altmetrics

Download statistics

Downloads from ePrints over the past year. Other digital versions may also be available to download e.g. from the publisher's website.

View more statistics

Atom RSS 1.0 RSS 2.0

Contact ePrints Soton: eprints@soton.ac.uk

ePrints Soton supports OAI 2.0 with a base URL of http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/cgi/oai2

This repository has been built using EPrints software, developed at the University of Southampton, but available to everyone to use.

We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you continue without changing your settings, we will assume that you are happy to receive cookies on the University of Southampton website.

×