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Br J Gen Pract ; 71(710): 390-391, 2021 09.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1395010
Pilot Feasibility Stud ; 7(1): 100, 2021 Apr 21.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1197354


BACKGROUND: Compared to the rest of Europe, the UK has relatively poor cancer outcomes, with late diagnosis and a slow referral process being major contributors. General practitioners (GPs) are often faced with patients presenting with a multitude of non-specific symptoms that could be cancer. Safety netting can be used to manage diagnostic uncertainty by ensuring patients with vague symptoms are appropriately monitored, which is now even more crucial due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and its major impact on cancer referrals. The ThinkCancer! workshop is an educational behaviour change intervention aimed at the whole general practice team, designed to improve primary care approaches to ensure timely diagnosis of cancer. The workshop will consist of teaching and awareness sessions, the appointment of a Safety Netting Champion and the development of a bespoke Safety Netting Plan and has been adapted so it can be delivered remotely. This study aims to assess the feasibility of the ThinkCancer! intervention for a future definitive randomised controlled trial. METHODS: The ThinkCancer! study is a randomised, multisite feasibility trial, with an embedded process evaluation and feasibility economic analysis. Twenty-three to 30 general practices will be recruited across Wales, randomised in a ratio of 2:1 of intervention versus control who will follow usual care. The workshop will be delivered by a GP educator and will be adapted iteratively throughout the trial period. Baseline practice characteristics will be collected via questionnaire. We will also collect primary care intervals (PCI), 2-week wait (2WW) referral rates, conversion rates and detection rates at baseline and 6 months post-randomisation. Participant feedback, researcher reflections and economic costings will be collected following each workshop. A process evaluation will assess implementation using an adapted Normalisation Measure Development (NoMAD) questionnaire and qualitative interviews. An economic feasibility analysis will inform a future economic evaluation. DISCUSSION: This study will allow us to test and further develop a novel evidenced-based complex intervention aimed at general practice teams to expedite the diagnosis of cancer in primary care. The results from this study will inform the future design of a full-scale definitive phase III trial. TRIAL REGISTRATION: NCT04823559 .

BMJ Open ; 10(11): e043828, 2020 11 17.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-934100


OBJECTIVES: To estimate the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on cancer care services and overall (direct and indirect) excess deaths in people with cancer. METHODS: We employed near real-time weekly data on cancer care to determine the adverse effect of the pandemic on cancer services. We also used these data, together with national death registrations until June 2020 to model deaths, in excess of background (pre-COVID-19) mortality, in people with cancer. Background mortality risks for 24 cancers with and without COVID-19-relevant comorbidities were obtained from population-based primary care cohort (Clinical Practice Research Datalink) on 3 862 012 adults in England. RESULTS: Declines in urgent referrals (median=-70.4%) and chemotherapy attendances (median=-41.5%) to a nadir (lowest point) in the pandemic were observed. By 31 May, these declines have only partially recovered; urgent referrals (median=-44.5%) and chemotherapy attendances (median=-31.2%). There were short-term excess death registrations for cancer (without COVID-19), with peak relative risk (RR) of 1.17 at week ending on 3 April. The peak RR for all-cause deaths was 2.1 from week ending on 17 April. Based on these findings and recent literature, we modelled 40% and 80% of cancer patients being affected by the pandemic in the long-term. At 40% affected, we estimated 1-year total (direct and indirect) excess deaths in people with cancer as between 7165 and 17 910, using RRs of 1.2 and 1.5, respectively, where 78% of excess deaths occured in patients with ≥1 comorbidity. CONCLUSIONS: Dramatic reductions were detected in the demand for, and supply of, cancer services which have not fully recovered with lockdown easing. These may contribute, over a 1-year time horizon, to substantial excess mortality among people with cancer and multimorbidity. It is urgent to understand how the recovery of general practitioner, oncology and other hospital services might best mitigate these long-term excess mortality risks.

COVID-19/epidemiology , Models, Statistical , Neoplasms/epidemiology , Pandemics , Population Surveillance , SARS-CoV-2 , Adult , Cause of Death/trends , England/epidemiology , Female , Follow-Up Studies , Humans , Male , Middle Aged , Multimorbidity/trends , Survival Rate/trends , Time Factors