Applications are invited for a full-time PhD studentship, funded as part of the Knowledge Economy Skills Partnership 2 (KESS 2) programme and in partnership with Tenovus Cancer Care. The studentship is based at the North Wales Centre for Primary Care Research (NWCPCR), within the School of Healthcare Sciences, Bangor University (Wrexham site), under the academic supervision of Dr Julia Hiscock, Dr Rebecca-Jane Law and Professor Richard Neal.
The studentship is for three years on a full-time basis and available from 1st March 2017 (applicants are requested to state their earliest possible start date on their application). In addition to having tuition fees paid, the PhD student will receive an annual tax-free stipend of £14,198. The studentship also includes funding for the running costs of the project and training and development.
Early diagnosis of cancer is one of the most important ways to increase survival rates and is the subject a substantial body of research in the UK and worldwide. Research on “pathways to treatment” (Walter et al., 2012) has highlighted patient, healthcare and disease factors which influence detection and diagnosis rates. Factors affecting the patient interval (the time between noticing a symptom and seeking medical advice) include patient behaviour and coping styles (Noonan, 2014), previous experience and co-morbidities (Scott et al., 2013; Brouha et al., 2005). However, one area which is poorly understood is the role of friends and family in encouraging (or discouraging) patients to seek medical advice for a potentially cancerous symptom. “Lay referral” is the subject of this study and happens when (lay) members of the public suggest to a friend, relative or social network member that they seek medical advice about a symptom. Lay referral (Schoenberg et al., 2003; Cornford & Cornford, 1999) is part of a medical sociology theory of illness behaviour developed from the work of Freidson (1970) and Zola (1973).
There has been limited research from this sociological perspective on the role of social network members in encouraging patients to consult a doctor about a potentially cancerous condition. Therefore, the purpose of the studentship is to contribute to cancer survival rates through improving early diagnosis, with the specific aim of understanding lay referral for potentially cancerous symptoms and to learn whether it can encourage earlier diagnosis of cancer.
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Source: Bangor University
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