The Improving Rural Cancer Outcomes (IRCO) Trial

Although survival for most common cancers in Australia are improving, there are significantly more deaths due to lung, colorectal, breast and prostate cancer in regional Australia,  partially due to later diagnosis. This factorial cluster-randomised controlled trial, led by PC4 director Jon Emery, aimed to measure the effect of a community-based symptom awareness campaign and general practice based educational interventions on time to diagnosis in rural patients in Western Australia. The community intervention involved a cancer symptom awareness campaign. The GP intervention consisted of a resource card with symptom risk assessment charts and local referral pathways implemented through multiple academic dealing visits. IRCO is the largest trial to assess the separate and combined effects of community campaigns and GP interventions. Though this study found no evidence of an effect of either intervention on time to diagnosis it does highlight the need for future large-scale pragmatic trials to further inform the impact of public awareness campaigns and GP education in reducing diagnostic delay.

 

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