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To provide new, in-depth insights from the patient’s perspective into the early stages of being diagnosed to help explain differences in diagnosis across the three countries.

Why this is important

Survival rates for those with cancer in England are poorer than in many European countries. Surveys suggest that this may be due to differences in how people recognise suspicious symptoms, report them to their doctors and how the doctors respond. It is suspected that these differences could lead to later diagnosis and a risk of later stage disease developing.


This qualitative study will gather, explore and compare experiences of people with lung and colorectal cancer within and across three European countries (England, Denmark and Sweden).

The research will take place over 24 months (starting in October 2014). It will involve in-depth interviews with 60 people in each country (30 with lung cancer, and 30 with colorectal cancer). We will interview participants within six months of being diagnosed and will look to collect as great a diversity of experiences as possible (i.e. from a range of demographic and clinical characteristics). The interviews will then be analysed to draw out similarities within and differences between cancers and countries.

How this will benefit patients:

Insights from the experiences of patients is particularly important for service improvement, since problems are more likely to be addressed effectively if we understand how and why they happens.

Next steps

We are recruiting participants - find out more

Full project title:

A comparative qualitative study of patients‟ experiences of cancer diagnosis in England, Denmark and Sweden: can comparative analysis of patients‟ narratives help us identify how to improve cancer services?

Length of project:

Oct 14 – Oct 16



Read the technical summary