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Experiences of 'traditional' and 'one-stop' MRI-based prostate cancer diagnostic pathways in England: a qualitative study with patients and GPs.

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Merriel, Samuel William David  ORCID logo
Eldred-Evans, David 
McGrath, John 


OBJECTIVES: This study aimed to understand and explore patient and general practitioner (GP) experiences of 'traditional' and 'one-stop' prostate cancer diagnostic pathways in England. DESIGN: Qualitative study using semi-structured interviews, analysed using inductive thematic analysis SETTING: Patients were recruited from National Health Service (NHS) Trusts in London and in Devon; GPs were recruited via National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Clinical Research Networks. Interviews were conducted in person or via telephone. PARTICIPANTS: Patients who had undergone a MRI scan of the prostate as part of their diagnostic work-up for possible prostate cancer, and GPs who had referred at least one patient for possible prostate cancer in the preceding 12 months. RESULTS: 22 patients (aged 47-80 years) and 10 GPs (6 female, aged 38-58 years) were interviewed. Patients described three key themes: cancer beliefs in relation to patient's attitudes towards prostate cancer;communication with their GP and specialist having a significant impact on experience of the pathway and pathway experience being influenced by appointment and test burden. GP interview themes included: the challenges of dealing with imperfect information in the current pathway; managing uncertainty in identifying patients with possible prostate cancer and sharing this uncertainty with them, and other social, cultural and personal contextual influences. CONCLUSIONS: Patients and GPs reported a range of experiences and views of the current prostate cancer diagnostic pathways in England. Patients valued 'one-stop' pathways integrating prostate MRI and diagnostic consultations with specialists over the more traditional approach of several hospital appointments. GPs remain uncertain how best to identify patients needing referral for urgent prostate cancer testing due to the lack of accurate triage and risk assessment strategies.


Funder: Wellcome Trust


magnetic resonance imaging, primary care, prostate disease, qualitative research, urological tumours, Adult, Aged, Aged, 80 and over, Attitude of Health Personnel, Early Detection of Cancer, England, General Practitioners, Humans, Magnetic Resonance Imaging, Male, Middle Aged, Prostate-Specific Antigen, Prostatic Neoplasms, Qualitative Research, State Medicine

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BMJ Open

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Cancer Research UK (C8640/A23385)
NIHR Imperial Biomedical Research Centre (No grant/award number)