Addressing the causes for late cancer presentation

The UK has poorer cancer survival rates than other comparable countries, and certain types of cancer are diagnosed when the disease as more advanced. The LCA is supporting a study to help understand the pathway that leads people with cancer to present for the first time as an emergency.

'Cancer Diagnosis in the Acute Setting' is being led by consultant medical oncologist Dr Tom Newsom-Davis at Chelsea and Westminster Hospital. It aims to better understand:

  • the whole diagnostic pathway, from first noticing a symptom to emergency presentation in secondary care (including the role of primary care)
  • the patient, clinical and organisational factors that contribute to an emergency new cancer diagnosis 

The one-year study, funded by the Department of Health and approved by the National Cancer Research Network, is targeting two tumour sites - lung and colorectal. The findings will enable researchers to consider ways to encourage or facilitate earlier presentation.

The initial pilot sites, Chelsea and Westminster Hospital and Lewisham Hospital, are currently recruiting patients. The study will then be rolled out to four additional sites - Hillingdon Hospital NHS Trust, Guy's and St Thomas' NHS Foundation Trust, Croydon University Hospital, and St George's Hospital NHS Trust.

The findings will be used locally and nationally to develop ways to reduce the number of people who present in this way by targeting the issues identified.

You can read the study protocol here.

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