For a study, researchers sought to examine ways to improve patient help-seeking for lung cancer warning signs and symptoms from the perspective of primary healthcare practitioners and perceived impediments to patient help-seeking. About 36 primary healthcare providers participated in semi-structured focus groups and individual interviews. Through videoconferencing, data were gathered. The analysis was thematically inductive. The information was used to generate the following themes: Barriers to early patient presentation for indications and symptoms of concern were thought to exist and seen to exist. Some participants thought that people would be less likely to seek treatment for symptoms of lung cancer because of the high cost of a general practitioner visit, lengthy wait times, and prior negative experiences with the healthcare system. Perceived patient-related obstacles to obtaining assistance include the various feelings connected to a possible cancer diagnosis and the stigma, embarrassment, and guilt experienced by smokers. Drug usage, homelessness, living in rural areas, being a man, and being older were sociodemographic characteristics impeding patient help-seeking. The COVID-19 pandemic’s detrimental effects on people seeking cancer treatment were also prominently highlighted. Participants suggested several tactics to encourage patients to seek medical attention for troubling symptoms, including targeted educational campaigns that emphasize symptoms (like a cough) more than behaviors (like smoking), easily accessible and cost-free healthcare, and utilizing patients’ support systems. The cost of healthcare, cancer fear, and numerous sociodemographic characteristics are hurdles to patients and the healthcare system seeking help for warning signs and symptoms of lung cancer. Participants recommended using community support networks, targeted patient education, national campaigns, accessible and readily available targeted screening programs, and early patient help-seeking for signs of concern.

Source: bmcprimcare.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s12875-022-01730-x