Programme no. 331-OP
Public Health
Gynecological cancer alarm symptoms and contact to specialist care – A population-based study
Kirubakaran Balasubramaniam*1, René dePont Christensen2, Sandra Elnegaard3, Pernille Ravn4, Jens Søndergaard5, Dorte Ejg Jarbøl6
1Research Unit of General Practice,Department of Public Health, University of Southern Denmark,Odense C,Denmark, 2Research Unit of General Practice,Department of Public Health, University of Southern Denmark,Odense C,Denmark, 3Research Unit of General Practice,Department of Public Health, University of Southern Denmark,Odense C,Denmark, 4Department of Gynecology and Obstetrics,Odense University Hospital,Odense C,Denmark, 5Research Unit of General Practice,Department of Public Health, University of Southern Denmark,Odense C,Denmark, 6Research Unit of General Practice,Department of Public Health, University of Southern Denmark,Odense C,Denmark
* = Presenting author
Objectives: To determine how often gynecological cancer alarm symptoms lead to a contact to specialist care. Furthermore to analyze how the course from symptom experience to specialist investigation is associated with socioeconomic status (SES).
Background: Cancer-related mortality in Denmark is among the highest in the developed countries. This includes gynecological malignancies. Furthermore, Danish cancer patients are often diagnosed with late stage cancer diseases, which can contribute to the high mortality rates. To counter this, clinical guidelines based on so-called cancer alarm symptoms have been implemented. These guidelines suggest that general practitioners (GPs) promptly refer patients experiencing gynecological cancer alarm symptoms for investigation. What influence the course from symptom experience to contact to specialist care is, however, less known.
Results: A total of 25 818 non-pregnant women participated in the study. Some 523 (2.0%) reported experiencing at least one gynecological cancer alarm symptom for less than six months. Of these 147 (28.1%) reported having contacted their GP. The proportion of patients with a contact to specialist care and how this was associated with SES will be presented at the conference.
Material/Methods: A nationwide population-based prospective cohort study based on a random sample of the Danish population. A total of 51 090 women aged 20 and above were invited to participate in an internet-based questionnaire. The questionnaire contained items regarding the presence of gynecological cancer alarm symptoms and contacts to GP. Information about SES and contacts to specialist care was collected by data linkage to national registers.
Conclusion: Our results provide knowledge on what may influence contacts to specialist care among patients experiencing gynecological cancer alarm symptoms. Any association with SES will be described, and this may contribute to understanding and assessing current management strategies for this particular patient group.
Points for discussion: How can our results be implemented in everyday practice in order to improve healthcare?