Awareness and Early Diagnosis

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Improving early diagnosis of cancer: a multi organisation approach

by Northern England Strategic Clinical Networks

The former North of England Cancer Network, now part of the Northern England Strategic Clinical Networks, worked with the Department of Health, Public Health England and Cancer Research UK on two regional pilots for Be Clear on Cancer: ‘blood in pee’ (bladder and kidney cancers) and oesophago-gastric.

The campaigns have increased awareness of cancer symptoms; they have led to more referrals for tests and ultimately, more cancers have been diagnosed. Be Clear on Cancer is based on measurable success in raising awareness of cancer symptoms with the public, but it has also been the catalyst for collaboration and change within the NHS.

Judges' comments

"This genuinely collaborative initiative was well written, well evaluated and has real potential to improve early diagnosis. The programme of work has had a phenomenally beneficial impact on local GPs and one of the outstanding differences is the mood-change over the last few years - from shock and awe, to making early diagnosis a day-to-day priority."

Highly commended

Macmillan electronic cancer decision support tool

by Macmillan Cancer Support

The Macmillan Cancer Decision Support Tool (CDS) is a symptom based software tool that aids GPs’ clinical judgement. It runs in the background of a GP’s computer system and is activated when a patient record is viewed. CDS is central to developing the area of early diagnosis of cancer by identifying and linking symptoms that may otherwise be missed in a busy surgery environment. CDS can also be used in two more explicit ways as a symptom checker and to illustrate which patients are at a higher or lower risk of cancer via its Population Risk Stratification function. CDS is currently live in over 550 practices across the UK and is being used by over 2,000 GPs during patient consultations.

Judges' comments

"There is huge potential to reduce cancer deaths by raising awareness among GPs of individuals at high risk of developing the disease."


The United Kingdom’s first validated 24 hour cancer treatment helpline 

by NHS Lothian

The Scottish Cancer Treatment Helpline (CTH) initiative is pioneering as it is the only validated service in the UK to have competently trained non clinical staff to use the UKONS tool to triage patients following SACT/radiotherapy 24 hours a day. It has resulted in the delivery of a safe and effective method of identifying and assessing those patients who are at risk from life threatening toxicity from SACT/radiotherapy. 

Judges' comments

"We were impressed by the early detection of problems. The tool was well executed as it is rolled out over a big geography."

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