Patients with sarcoma often take a long time to be diagnosed and start treatment. This is because we do not know very much about how symptoms start, what patients think might be causing these symptoms and what makes them book an appointment with a healthcare professional such as a General Practitioner (GP). Patients with sarcoma have to attend their GP more times before they are sent on to the hospital for cancer tests than patients with other cancers; and many start treatments or therapies that will not help their symptoms or their sarcoma.
How will this project tackle this challenge?
This project will review data collected from 100 patient interviews about what it is like to be diagnosed with sarcoma. The team aim to:
- Find out how patients first noticed symptoms that turned out to be caused by their sarcoma.
- Why and when they decided to go and talk to a professional about these symptoms.
- What the professional told them about these symptoms and any actions taken.
- What factors such as cancer type, age, type of doctor or professional first spoken to can affect how long it takes to get diagnosed with sarcoma.
Using these interviews, the team will look at important ‘events’, ‘time-intervals’, ‘processes’ and ‘factors’ that affect how long it takes patients with sarcoma to be diagnosed.
What this means for people affected by sarcoma
We know that getting diagnosed early and accurately is one of the most important factors in determining outcomes for patients, both in terms of treating their sarcoma and the emotional toll of the process. The project will identify where we can improve, using this data to develop tests or other measures to speed-up or improve the experience of being diagnosed with sarcoma.
Patients with sarcoma have to attend their GP more times before they are sent on to the hospital for cancer tests than patients with other cancers; and many start treatments or therapies that will not help their symptoms or their sarcoma.