Cancer dataset shows improvements in diagnosis

Latest ‘Routes to Diagnosis’ dataset published and finds improvement in the way some cancers are being diagnosed | Public Health England

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Data released by Public Health England has shown a dramatic improvement in the way some cancers are being diagnosed across England.  The publication also pinpoints areas where improvements could still be made.

Key findings from the latest Routes to Diagnosis data include:

  • diagnoses from emergency presentations, where outcomes are the worst, have improved falling from 24% to 20% between 2006 to 2015
  • diagnoses through urgent GP referrals – 2 week waits – have increased significantly from 25% in 2005 to 37% in 2015, meaning that around 110,000 cases are now diagnosed this way
  • diagnoses of pancreatic cancer through emergency presentation – with the very worst outcomes – has fallen by 6%, a significant drop
  • diagnoses of colorectal cancers through the national bowel screening programme – the route with the best survival rate – remain under 10%
  • the number of cancer cases diagnosed in Accident and Emergency varies across the country , ranging from 8% of all cases in the Peninsular Cancer Alliance to 20% of all cases in the London Cancer Alliance – this is despite similar cancer incidence levels

Routes to Diagnosis now includes 10 years’ worth of data, covering more than 3 million cancer cases, making it the most comprehensive dataset of its kind in the world.

Full detail at cancerdata.nhs.uk

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Cancer app developed by GPs being trialled by CCGs

A GP-developed app aiming to help GPs navigate the tests and urgent referrals necessary for patients presenting with cancer symptoms is being trialled by two CCGs | Pulse

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C the Signs was co-founded by newly qualified GP Dr Bhavagaya Bakshi and fellow doctor Miles Payling and quickly checks symptoms of more than 200 cancers against multiple diagnostic referral pathways.

Last week the app won the People’s award at the Tech4Good awards and is now set to be trialled with GPs in the East of England to test its real world cost and clinical effectiveness.

Read the full news story here

Prescription history could help GPs diagnose cancer earlier

“We want to develop a tool that helps GPs diagnose cancer earlier in the hope of saving more lives.”– Dr Jem Rashbass 

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Cancer Research UK-funded scientists are to examine whether identifying patterns in medication given to patients before they develop cancer could improve early diagnosis.

Looking for patterns in prescriptions and other data could help guide GP referrals, especially in patients with non-specific symptoms that don’t obviously indicate cancer.

Only about half of those with the most common cancers have “red-flag” symptoms. And this is even lower in cancers with poor survival rates such as pancreatic, stomach, ovarian and brain cancer.

This research is being led by Health Data Insight which has received funding through Cancer Research UK’s Pioneer Awards scheme. Together with Public Health England and the NHS Business Services Authority they have created an anonymous dataset of nearly all the primary care prescription data – approximately 80 million medications being prescribed each month.

The researchers will then link this information to data in the National Cancer Registration and Analysis Service to look for trends in medications given to patients before they were diagnosed with cancer.

Read more at Cancer Research UK

Understanding GP attitudes to cancer preventing drugs

A study by Cancer Research UK concludes that GPs want more support when offering drugs that lower the risk of certain cancers. It finds that GPs are more comfortable to discuss drugs, and more willing to prescribe or recommend drugs when they are supported by secondary care clinicians. Cancer Research UK

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Understanding GP attitudes to cancer preventing drugs is aimed at increasing understanding GP attitudes towards offering the use of tamoxifen and aspirin to lower the risk of cancer, or prevent cancer. This is an area where there is little research around clinician attitudes and knowledge.

The study surveyed 1,007 GPs from across the UK. It found nearly half of GPs were unaware of the potential benefits of tamoxifen to prevent breast cancer among women with a clear family history of the disease who are therefore at higher risk.

The study also showed that more needs to be done to promote the evidence and guidance on chemoprevention. The research suggests that ensuring evidence based chemoprevention is routinely discussed with and offered to the people who may benefit should be a priority across the UK.

Executive summary: Understanding GP Attitudes to Cancer Preventing Drugs 

Full report: Understanding GP Attitudes to Cancer Preventing Drugs