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 care for people who have just been diagnosed with cancer
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This study was looking at a new way for family doctors (GPs) and their teams to contribute to the care of people who have recently been diagnosed with cancer.
The research team had developed an electronic document called a Cancer Ongoing Review Document or CORD that could be completed by a GP or practice nurse for patients who had recently been diagnosed with cancer.
The GPs taking part in this study invited patients who had recently been diagnosed to come to the surgery and discuss their care and any concerns they had.
The patients taking part agreed that the research team could then look at their medical notes and the CORD to collect information about these meetings.
The researchers looked in detail at the kinds of issues that were discussed. They also interviewed some of the patients and their carers to see how helpful they found these discussions. And they interviewed some of the health care professionals to see what they thought about using the CORD.
Summary of results
The researchers found that the Cancer Ongoing Review Document could help GPs and practice nurses, but was often not used for practical reasons.
The study team found that GPs started a Cancer Ongoing Review Document (CORD) for just over half of their suitable patients.
The researchers looked at the medical notes (and CORD if there was one) of 107 patients. And they interviewed
- 16 patients and carers
- 27 GPs
- 2 practice nurses
Most of the doctors and nurses said they liked the CORD, feeling that it helped their consultations and reminded them to cover things that they might otherwise leave out of the discussion.
Some hadn’t wanted to have the document open when they were talking to their patient and filled it in after the consultation. But patients interviewed said that as long as the doctor or nurse explained what was happening, it was useful to have the document open during their discussion.
Patients and their carers valued contact with their GP or practice nurse as they had an overview of any other medical conditions they had and their social situation. But few of the patients interviewed could remember being invited to the GP practice to discuss their diagnosis or were aware that a special review document was used.
The researchers concluded that the Cancer Ongoing Review Document may be useful for delivering care in the community for cancer patients. But many health care professionals felt that the CORD needed to be improved to make it easier to use alongside their existing computer systems.
We have based this summary on information from the team who ran the trial. The information they sent us has been reviewed by independent specialists (
How to join a clinical trial
Professor Scott Murray
Macmillan Cancer Support
National Institute for Health Research Cancer Research Network (NCRN)
University of Cambridge
University of Edinburgh