The two-week rule for suspected colorectal cancer: patient experience and psychological impact

Ndukwe, Nenna, Borowski, David W., Lee, Angela, Orr, Anne, Dexter-Smith, Sarah, and Agarwal, Anil K. (2012) The two-week rule for suspected colorectal cancer: patient experience and psychological impact. International Journal of Health Care Quality Assurance, 25 (1). pp. 75-85.

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Purpose – There has been considerable interest in the "two-week rule" referral pathway efficacy for patients with suspected colorectal cancer. This study aims to explore the psychological impact on these patients.

Design/methodology/approach – Consecutive patients referred for urgent investigations under the "two-week rule" were invited to take part in semi-structured interviews using interpretative phenomenological analysis (IPA). Interviews were audio-taped, transcribed verbatim and analysed using investigator triangulation to enhance data trustworthiness.

Findings – Ten out of 23 (43.5 per cent) patients consented to interviews; none were diagnosed with cancer. Four super-ordinate themes were explored, referring to the "making sense of the threat to health", impact on self, impact on others, reflections on the "two-week rule" referral, and its investigative process. Participants reported their anxiety, fear, vulnerability and coping mechanisms, but also raised concerns about the communication received during the "two-week rule" referral process. Female participants preferred a female endoscopist.

Originality/value – This study is the first of its kind exploring the psychological effects of the "two-week rule" process for colorectal cancer, highlighting potential areas for improvement in patient information, and satisfaction with the referral process.

Item ID: 24691
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 0952-6862
Keywords: cancer, colorectal cancer, health care, patient satisfaction and perception, service delivery, United Kingdom, waiting time
Date Deposited: 25 Jan 2013 01:30
FoR Codes: 17 PSYCHOLOGY AND COGNITIVE SCIENCES > 1701 Psychology > 170106 Health, Clinical and Counselling Psychology @ 100%
SEO Codes: 92 HEALTH > 9201 Clinical Health (Organs, Diseases and Abnormal Conditions) > 920102 Cancer and Related Disorders @ 100%
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