Table 3

Illustrative quotations relating to symptom progression, a subtheme of theme 3—further appraisal of symptoms

Further appraisal of symptoms
Pain Well, it varied, you know, sometimes I’d have the pain all day and that’s very wearing and painful…It’s just under the rib cage and it’s slightly to the right hand side, just slightly there, always in the same place.’ (F, 70–79 years, <2 weeks, non-cancer)
‘…I just had a nagging, more like a dull ache, underneath my bust and I thought it was indigestion and it didn’t seem to go away, it didn’t make any difference whether I ate or not, it was there quite a lot of the time’ (F, 70–79 years, 2–4 weeks, cancer)
After Christmas that then became all day, every day. I was going to bed with a stomach ache and I was waking up with a stomach ache…It was there all the while and you know, it didn’t make sense that I’d have a problem all the while so I thought I was imagining it’ (M, 60–69 years, 2–4 weeks, cancer)
Progressive changes in appetite and enjoyment of food I was actually going off the actual taste of food, I wasn’t enjoying food anymore, things that I would normally eat I wasn’t enjoying’ (M, 60–69 years, 5–8 weeks, cancer)
Well it became quite traumatic at one point, when I just (did) not want an evening meal at all. I always eat a reasonable breakfast, but for the evening meal I had no appetite’ (M, 80+ years, <2 weeks, cancer)
and I was eating less and smaller meals and being really careful what I ate, and I thought ‘it’s good for you but you shouldn’t have to be that precise when you eat’ (F, 60–69 years, 26–52 weeks, non-cancer)
Weight loss I was also suffering uncomfortable, you know, let’s say stomach irritation, indigestion, wasn’t happy eating, so I literally went along to say ‘look, this isn’t right, I don’t mind losing weight but not like this’' (M 60–69 years, 5–8 weeks, cancer)
‘I’d probably lost about four pounds which was concerning me but then I thought, you’ve reduced the amount that you’re eating (F 50–59 years, 2–4 weeks, non-cancer)