Last year in the UK over 60,000 cancer patients enrolled on clinical trials aimed at improving cancer treatments and making them available to all.
A study looking at emergency hospital admissions for people with lung cancer and other lung conditions (EURECA)
This study looked at the experiences people have before being admitted into hospital as an emergency with lung cancer or other lung conditions.
More about this trial
In this study, researchers talked to people with lung cancer and with other lung conditions such as:
- chronic bronchitis
This group of conditions cause difficulty breathing and are grouped by doctors as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).
Researchers also talked with:
- health professionals
They tried to understand more about the experiences people have when being admitted into hospital as an emergency.
The aim of this study was to look at the reasons people are admitted into hospital as an emergency. They also want to understand the experiences of people, carers and health professionals during the time before the hospital admission.
Summary of results
The research team concluded that shortness of breath and pain were the most common reasons for people having to go into hospital. They also found that people avoid hospital admissions for as long as possible. And use what they have learnt in the past to try to improve their symptoms first.
In this study, the researchers interviewed:
- 24 people with
advanced lung cancer
- 15 people with COPD
- 20 carers
- 50 health professionals
The interviews were done with people either in hospital or shortly after they were sent home.
The study team found that shortness of breath and pain were the most common reasons for people with lung cancer having to go into hospital. Shortness of breath was also very common in people with COPD.
Researchers found 3 phases before a hospital admission.
First, people try to manage their symptoms using experiences and advice from carers and health professionals. People often start to feel anxious during this phase.
In the second phase, people discuss with carers and health professions the best decision to make. They avoid going to the hospital for as long as possible.
In the final phase, people agree to the admission. They often feel relieved after making this decision.
In this study people, carers and both GPs and hospital doctors thought it was right for them to go into hospital as an emergency. Researchers think this goes against the idea that many hospital admissions could be avoided.
The study team concluded that although emergency admissions for this group of people might be seen by some as inappropriate, they did not find this.
They hope that by having an understanding of the 3 phases, healthcare professionals might find better ways to help patients at home. But they think that if people’s symptoms are to be managed properly they need to be admitted as an emergency.
How to join a clinical trial
Please note: In order to join a trial you will need to discuss it with your doctor, unless otherwise specified.
Dr Dan Munday
Macmillan Cancer Support
NIHR Clinical Research Network: Cancer
University of Birmingham
University of Warwick