A study to test a set of questions designed to measure delay in early cancer diagnosis (The ASTRID study)

Please note - this trial is no longer recruiting patients. We hope to add results when they are available.

Cancer type:

Bowel (colorectal) cancer
Lung cancer





This study is testing questions developed to work out important time points in the lead up to a cancer diagnosis Open a glossary item. This study is supported by Cancer Research UK as part of the National Awareness and Early Detection Initiative (NAEDI).

The research team in this study is part of an international group who are looking for ways to improve the time it takes for people with cancer to get diagnosed and treated. There is a lot of interest in how people are diagnosed, and how the process can be improved. Ideally, the time between someone first noticing a symptom and getting a diagnosis should be as short as possible. Monitoring this may help to show up where any delays are. But at the moment we don’t have an accurate way of doing this.

Researchers in this study have developed a set of questions to help pick out important time points between noticing a first symptom and being diagnosed. But they need to test these. They will recruit people with and without cancer to look at some made up patient situations, and ask if they think the questions are good enough to help work out these time points. The questionnaire will be sent to people with a diagnosis of bowel cancer or lung cancer to find out if they can understand the questions and if they are able to complete the questionnaire. The aim of this study is to test the usefulness of these questions.

You will not have any direct benefit from taking part in this study. But the results will be used to help people in the future.

Who can enter

You may be able to enter this study if

  • You have lung cancer (but not a rare cancer that starts in the covering of the lung called mesothelioma) or bowel cancer
  • You have been cared for at the Edinburgh Cancer Centre
  • You would be willing to take part in a discussion (focus) group
  • Your doctor thinks that you are well enough to take part


  • You do not have cancer
  • You are a patient at one of the GP surgeries in Edinburgh that are taking part
  • Your GP thinks that a long term condition or symptoms you have would help you to join in discussions about symptoms of cancer

Trial design

This study will recruit up to 48 people into one of 6 focus groups. The group you join will depend on your medical condition. There are 2 groups each for

  • People with lung cancer
  • People with bowel cancer
  • People who do not have cancer but have other long term conditions  (such as diabetes or osteoarthritis)

Each group will look at a number of made up stories about patients who have been diagnosed with cancer, with details about what happened leading up to their diagnosis.

The researcher will also show you some questions they have put together. They want to know how well you think they help pick out the important time points in each patient’s experience. For example, some questions will try to work out the date the patient first went to their GP with symptoms of their cancer. They would like to know if they could improve the questions in any way.

The team will audio record each focus group discussion. They won’t ask you to speak about your own experiences, but they will treat anything you say confidentially Open a glossary item, so no one else will be able to link anything said back to you.

Hospital visits

For your focus group meeting you will go either to your GP surgery, or to a room at the Edinburgh Cancer Centre at Western General Hospital.

The team will pay your travel expenses. And, offer you a £15 high street voucher to thank you for sharing your time and views.

Side effects

You should not have any side effects as a result of taking part in this study.

Recruitment start:

Recruitment end:

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.

Please note - unless we state otherwise in the summary, you need to talk to your doctor about joining a trial.

Chief Investigator

Professor David Weller

Supported by

NHS Lothian
National Awareness and Early Diagnosis Initiative (NAEDI)
National Institute for Health Research Cancer Research Network (NCRN)
University of Edinburgh

Questions about cancer? Contact our information nurses

Freephone 0808 800 4040

Last review date

CRUK internal database number:

Oracle 10589

Please note - unless we state otherwise in the summary, you need to talk to your doctor about joining a trial.

Charlie took part in a trial to try new treatments

A picture of Charlie

“I think it’s really important that people keep signing up to these type of trials to push research forward.”

Last reviewed:

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