Table 1

Overview of themes with illustrative quotes

ThemeAreaIllustrative quote (ID number, sex)
Emotional reactionAnticipation of the testMy main concern was that I could actually get it swallowed. C6, M
Effects of personality and coping strategies“The less information you have, the less there is to worry about, I guess?” C5, M
That’s usually the way I approach these things. I try not to think about it. C13, F
Location“it was more about the setup if something went wrong, it felt safer at the hospital than you would in the GP”. C11, M
Effect of previous experienceInterviewer: “Was the second experience easier for you after having had it the first time?
Participant: “Yes. I was a lot less worried. As I say, not worried, but I knew what I was expecting. C15, M
EmbarrassmentI didn’t feel like there was any kind of humiliation or embarrassment. C6, M
Anxiety about the results“I was feeling anxious that I might have—because at the top of the letter it said something like, I don't know, the cancer clinic, and that made me very anxious”. C13, F
ExpectationsReferral process“I got in really, within the week. I was quite surprised how quick they were”. C9, M
Anticipation of the test“The experience with Cytosponge, it was better than what I expected because I think initially when you see something is going to be pulled out from your gut, it does feel a bit grim, but the experience wasn’t that bad. It was better than expected, as I said”. C10, M
Information before the test“The procedure went exactly as it had been written it would be. So, no, I can’t really think of anything else that needed to be done, to be perfectly frank with you”. C8, M
Anticipated physical experience“I’d expected to feel a bit of pain when they were bringing the sponge back up”. C2, M
Results and follow-up“They came through fairly quickly afterwards, you know, the details. I presume that they cannot tell you the exact details of it compared to an endoscopy, because they can find out a lot more from that, you know, from the condition I have got. I suppose it is a bit limited what you can tell from the sponge”. C11, M
Environment and physical processLocation“I had been caught up in the traffic. So I was getting panicky and I come downstairs and someone said, ‘No’, and I spoke to some guy and he said, ‘No, it’s back upstairs again’, and I said, ‘No, it’s not’, and they eventually told me where the place was, which was around the front”. C9, M
Preparation“It’s is a very basic room. There are lots of dispensers, and a lady who sits there and takes your details. Then you just sit and wait. Did I need any more comfort? No”. C16, M
Referral process“They told me that if you want to amend your date, please give us a call at that number. So, but I carried on because the time, actually, that suited me was morning”. C2, M
Medication“I do remember… I don’t know if I read about it in the information I was given, or whether they actually offered it, but I certainly didn't have it”. C6, M
Effect of staff“I felt that the person who did the test had done the test many times before, so was experienced”. C4, M
Sensory experiencePhysical sensation of the test“I wouldn’t say it was discomfort. It was something like a weird sensation, but yeah, around the cord side, with the gag reflex, you have to just gulp it down, but yeah, I felt a bit of discomfort that could last, I would say, 1 second or half a second, I would say”. C10, M
“It is not painful, it is just uncomfortable. You would not say being sick is painful, but it is more akin to that”. C11, M
“From my memories, I can't remember anything that I felt uncomfortable”. C3, F
Recovery“There was a sensation in the throat which probably did last longer, actually, maybe hours, but it wasn’t painful. It was just a sensation that something had happened, but yes, it wasn’t soreness. The hoarseness dissipated and stopped after about 15 minutes, but there was certainly a sensation in the throat for, maybe, hours”. C6, M
Communication and informationInformation about the test“I had a leaflet come through, which explained everything very carefully”. C18, M
“Yes, got to the hospital. They didn’t really explain what they were going to do because I already knew because of the video I watched”. C13, F
Staff involved in the test“That would be nice to know exactly what they are looking for, you know, and what they can get from it”. C11, M
Results and follow-up“it was a relatively short letter to say everything came back clear, and there will be no need for taking further steps and stuff. And that was about the long and short of it. As long as it was good, I’m not sure I was looking for any other info, really, to be fair. Because I'm not sure what else I’d be looking for, really”. C18, M
“One thing to point out is that receiving the result was actually in the form of a telephone call, saying that the test had shown some inflammation and that an endoscopy was recommended. So, I mean, that was the limit of the results. I do not know if that is, in any way, limited or not”. C7, M
  • F, female; M, male.