A study to understand how people manage symptoms before they are diagnosed with cancer

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 looking at actions people take to manage symptoms Open a glossary item before they are diagnosed with bowel cancer or lung cancer.

The earlier cancer is found, the more easily it can be treated and it is important that we find ways to reduce delays in diagnosis Open a glossary item. We know that people sometimes delay going to see their doctor about symptoms they have. But we don’t know what actions people take to manage these symptoms before they get medical help.

In this study, researchers want to find out what these actions are. They will recruit people who have been diagnosed with bowel cancer or lung cancer in the last year and ask them to complete a questionnaire about what they did before they went to see their doctor. The aims of this study are to

  • Look at how people managed their symptoms before being diagnosed with bowel or lung cancer
  • Identify time points before diagnosis where actions could have been taken to get an earlier diagnosis

You will not have any direct benefit from taking part in this study. But the results may be used to help spot cancer earlier, and to improve health services.

Who can enter

If you are suitable for this study, your cancer specialist will ask you in person or by letter (depending on your hospital) if you would like to take part. People taking part will

  • Have been diagnosed with lung cancer or bowel cancer in the last year
  • Live in either Grampian, Tayside or Greater Glasgow & Clyde Health Board areas of Scotland
  • Be being cared for by cancer doctors at a hospital involved in the study
  • Be at least 18 years old

You cannot enter this study if you have a medical or mental health condition that would make it difficult for you to take part - you can ask your doctor about this.

Trial design

This study will recruit 1,400 people - 700 with lung cancer and 700 with bowel cancer.

Everyone will be sent a questionnaire to fill out and post back to the study team in a prepaid envelope. The questionnaire will take about 15 minutes to complete and will ask about

  • The symptoms you had before you were diagnosed with cancer
  • What you did to help with these symptoms
  • Details of any friends, family and healthcare professionals you talked to about your symptoms before you were diagnosed
  • Why you did or didn’t contact healthcare services to help manage your symptoms

Included in the questionnaire is a calendar called a landmark calendar. Before you complete the questionnaire, you should mark important dates such as birthdays or holidays on the calendar. Doing this may help you more easily remember times and events related to your symptoms, leading up to when you were diagnosed.

The study team will treat your information anonymously, so no one will be able to link the results to you.

Hospital visits

You do not need to make any hospital visits to take part in this study.

Side effects

You will not have any side effects as a result of taking part in this study. But if you feel uncomfortable or upset when you fill out the questionnaire, the team advise that you have a break and complete it at a later time. They will give you their phone numbers with the questionnaire, and you can always call them if you need support.

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

Mrs Frances Notman

Supported by

National Institute for Health Research Cancer Research Network (NCRN)
Pharmacy Research UK
University of Aberdeen

Questions about cancer? Contact our information nurses

Freephone 0808 800 4040

Last review date

CRUK internal database number:

Oracle 11237

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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