Table 4

Illustrative quotations relating to theme 4: deciding to seek help

Illustrative quotations
Pain on a background of more subtle symptoms Sometimes I could take some indigestion remedy and it’d calm down, but this were a different kind of pain, this were, oh it’s excruciating painbut that were the first time that I thought there’s something not right here and I need to get some help.’ (F, 40–49 years, <2 weeks, non-cancer)
Help-seeking encouraged by others ‘The kids had been saying ‘mum you’re always ill’ and I thought ‘oh yeah, I am’. Because you, I think you sort of drift, you get used to things and you don’t see any problem with it, and when other people start to say, you know ‘hang on’ and then I thought ‘oh yeah’'(F, 60–69 years, 26–52 weeks, non-cancer)
‘I’d fall asleep on my desk, you know, this isn’t me, and other people said ‘oh you’re losing weight’ people actually were saying ‘you don’t look well’. It’s another lever to go and see, to get it sorted’ (M, 60–69 years, 5–8 weeks, cancer)
Legitimate reason I think my basic problem was pain from arthritis that I’d had for some time, but it was proving impossible to control it by the methods I was using(M 80-89, 2-4 weeks, cancer)