Table 5

Re-appraisal: factors that triggered further help-seeking following initial consultation across people diagnosed with lung cancer and those diagnosed with other conditions

Participants diagnosed with lung cancerParticipants diagnosed with other conditions
Concern about symptomI thought it strange to have a muscular problem in my back that hadn't got better in a couple of weeks so I thought it might be something, not necessarily sinister, well I suppose a slipped disc or a bone problem (M, 65–69, ex-smoker, 21 days, 2 GP visits 14 days)I coughed up a bright red blood clot. It was while I was waiting to see doctor (for a persistent cough), I phoned them up and I said, “Look, I need to see someone and I need to see someone today” (F, 55–59, smoker, 15 days, 2 GP visits 63 days, diagnosis not known)
Increasingly affected ability to undertake activityI take the dog out every day and that was getting less and less, the walk, so I knew something was wrong and I was getting to the stage where I didn't want to take her (F, 55–59, ex-smoker, 90 days, 4 GP visits 133 days)Coughing with the fan heater and that kind of dry heat and because of my job I go into hot houses and then back to my car, back to hot houses all the time and that set the coughing off (F, 40–44, 120 days, 4 GP visits 126 days)
Increasing concern that symptom indicative of lung cancerI read an article in the paper about a man who had a cough for weeks, found he had lung cancer and I remember thinking ‘oh god’ have I got that (F, 70–74, ex-smoker, 50 days, 4 GP visits 102 days)My husband decided I'd got lung cancer. (Laughs) Well a friend of ours had exactly these symptoms and had lung cancer
F, 55–59, never smoked, 60 days, 3 GP visits 34 days)
Increasing concern about candidacy for lung cancer(Negative case) I was expecting a clean bill of health, I mean I've never shown any sign of illness, I'm 75 now and apart from the odd bit of flu I've never really been ill all my life (M, 75–79, smoking not recorded,7 days, 2 GP visits 14 days)Because of the potential for methotrexate to be a problem and the fact that I had had a cough for longer than 3 weeks (F, 56, never smoked, 60 days, 3 GP visits 34 days, non-cancer)
I thought I am a smoker, I've been a smoker for a lot of years that (cancer) crossed my mind (F, 55–59, smoker, 15 days 2 GP visits 63 days, diagnosis not known)
Further help-seeking endorsed by GPThe doctor said it looks like being muscular I'll give you some painkillers and come back in couple of weeks if it hasn't gone. So two weeks exactly I went back (M, 65–69, ex-smoker, 21 days 2 GP visits 14 days)The doctor asked me to go back in a fortnight which I did (F, 81, ex-smoker, 7 days, 3 GP visits 182 days, non-cancer, diagnosis not known)
The doctor did say, try the steroids and the one inhaler to start with, see how you go, because you can come back (F, 40–45, never smoked, 121 days, 3 GP visits 126 days)
  • F, female; GP, general practitioner; M, male.