How European primary care practitioners think the timeliness of cancer diagnosis can be improved: a thematic analysis

Forskningsoutput: TidskriftsbidragArtikel i vetenskaplig tidskrift


BACKGROUND: National European cancer survival rates vary widely. Prolonged diagnostic intervals are thought to be a key factor in explaining these variations. Primary care practitioners (PCPs) frequently play a crucial role during initial cancer diagnosis; their knowledge could be used to improve the planning of more effective approaches to earlier cancer diagnosis. OBJECTIVES: This study sought the views of PCPs from across Europe on how they thought the timeliness of cancer diagnosis could be improved. DESIGN: In an online survey, a final open-ended question asked PCPs how they thought the speed of diagnosis of cancer in primary care could be improved. Thematic analysis was used to analyse the data. SETTING: A primary care study, with participating centres in 20 European countries. PARTICIPANTS: A total of 1352 PCPs answered the final survey question, with a median of 48 per country. RESULTS: The main themes identified were: patient-related factors, including health education; care provider-related factors, including continuing medical education; improving communication and interprofessional partnership, particularly between primary and secondary care; factors relating to health system organisation and policies, including improving access to healthcare; easier primary care access to diagnostic tests; and use of information technology. Re-allocation of funding to support timely diagnosis was seen as an issue affecting all of these. CONCLUSIONS: To achieve more timely cancer diagnosis, health systems need to facilitate earlier patient presentation through education and better access to care, have well-educated clinicians with good access to investigations and better information technology, and adequate primary care cancer diagnostic pathway funding.


  • Michael Harris
  • Ana Luísa Neves
  • Sophie Harker
  • Tuomas Koskela
  • Davorina Petek
  • Robert Hoffman
  • Mette Brekke
  • Krzysztof Buczkowski
  • Nicola Buono
  • Emiliana Costiug
  • Geert Jan Dinant
  • Gergana Foreva
  • Eva Jakob
  • Mercè Marzo
  • Peter Murchie
  • Jolanta Sawicka-Powierza
  • Antonius Schneider
  • Emmanouil Smyrnakis
  • Sven Streit
  • Gordon Taylor
  • Peter Vedsted
  • Birgitta Weltermann
  • Magdalena Esteva
Enheter & grupper
Externa organisationer
  • University of Bath
  • University of Bern
  • Region Kronoberg
  • Imperial College London
  • University of Porto
  • University of Tampere
  • University of Ljubljana
  • Tel-Aviv University
  • University of Oslo
  • Nicolaus Copernicus University
  • National Italian Society of Medical Education In General Practice
  • University of Medicine and Pharmacy, Cluj-Napoca
  • Maastricht University
  • Institut Universitari d’Investigació en Atenció Primària Jordi Gol
  • University of Aberdeen
  • Medical University of Bialystok
  • Aristotle University of Thessaloniki
  • University of Exeter
  • Aarhus University
  • University of Bonn
  • Carlos III Institute of Health (RedIAPP-RETICS)
  • Medical Center BROD
  • Centro de Saúde de Sarria
  • Technical University of Munich

Ämnesklassifikation (UKÄ) – OBLIGATORISK

  • Hälso- och sjukvårdsorganisation, hälsopolitik och hälsoekonomi


TidskriftBMJ Open
Utgåva nummer9
StatusPublished - 2019 sep 24
Peer review utfördJa