Cancer conversations

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Summary of report content

Healthwatch Thurrock were commissioned to undertake research with people who had had a cancer diagnosis about the information they received.  They spoke to 45 people.

Overall, most people were satisfied with the information they received.  A fifth did not feel either informed or supported.  There did not appear to be any correlation between the type of cancer and the availability of information given.

Delivery of information between verbal and leaflets was evenly matched in diagnosis with a Consultant being the main source. Just under a quarter of people felt the information should have been available earlier.

When sourcing information for themselves, individuals used online, family and other resources such as support groups. Most people did not look for support groups for themselves, although in various times during their journey, support groups were something people wanted to know about. At all stages, information was mostly given by a consultant and this was considered to be the correct person.

There are opportunities for improvement at all stages so people receive information but also feel able to ask questions about their cancer. There were instances where people still had questions and notably some felt they were rushed and overwhelmed to the point they felt there was no time. This appeared to be where the pace of diagnosis, test and ultimately treatment was very quick.

One of the prompts within the conversations was “What is the most important thing to know at diagnosis” Half of individuals wanted to know their prognosis and ultimately whether they would survive. Others wanted to know next steps. Smaller amounts were concerned about side effects and support available.

Healthwatch Thurrock concluded that most people are happy and informed at different stages of a cancer journey. Improvements can be made across all stages including making sure individuals have the chance to ask more questions, even at a later time when they have had time to come to terms with their diagnosis.

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General details

Report title 
Cancer conversations
Local Healthwatch 
Healthwatch Thurrock
Date of publication 
Friday, 30 April, 2021
Key themes 
Communication between staff and patients
Information providing

Methodology and approach

Was the work undertaken at the request of another organisation? 
What type of organisation requested the work 
Other local body
Primary research method used 
Structured interview
If an Enter and View methodology was applied, was the visit announced or unannounced? 

Details of health and care services included in the report

Secondary care services 
Cancer services

Details about conditions and diseases

Conditions or diseases 

Details of people who shared their views

Number of people who shared their views 
Age group 
Not known
Black/ African / Caribbean / Black British
Sexual orientation 
Not known
Does the information include public's views? 
Does the information include carer's, friend's or relative's views? 
Does the information include staff's views? 
What was the main sentiment of the people who shared their views? 

Outcomes and impact

Were recommendations made by local Healthwatch in the report? 
Does the information contain a response from a provider? 
Is there evidence of impact in the report? 
Is there evidence of impact external to the report? 
Not known

Network Impact
Relationships that exist locally, regionally, nationally have benefited from the work undertaken in the report
Implied Impact
Where it is implied that change may occur in the future as a result of Healthwatch work. This can be implied in a provider  response, press release or other source. Implied impact can become tangible impact once change has occurred.
Tangible Impact
There is evidence of change that can be directly attributed to Healthwatch work undertaken in the report.