Detecting and diagnosing cancer earlier provides an effective opportunity for increasing patient survival. For example, current one-year survival for lung cancer reaches 88% when diagnosed at stage 1 compared with 19% at stage 4 (CRUK). However, only 16% of lung cancers are diagnosed at the earliest stage. As part of the Long Term Plan, NHS England has set a goal that 75% of cancers will be detected at stage 1 or 2 by 2028 but several challenges need to be overcome if this is to be achieved.
To identify the key barriers to progress and recommend actions for improvement, Cancer Research UK brought together over 100 representatives from across academia, industry, government, research funders, healthcare professionals, patient representatives, and investment and regulation experts. The consulted experts included Oxford’s Professor David Hunter (Nuffield Department of Population Health), who sat on the steering committee and Professor Fergus Gleeson (Oxford University Hospitals and Department of Oncology), who participated in the two-day workshop. Their shared vision was published in the Early Detection and Diagnosis (ED&D) Roadmap on the 6th October 2020 with a commentary in The Lancet Oncology.
A shared vision for early detection and diagnosis
A future where the early detection and diagnosis of cancer (ED&D) is prioritised, incentivised and routinely embedded in UK research, development and health systems, as part of a paradigm shift towards proactive health management of individuals. ED&D will have a thriving multi-disciplinary and cross-sector research ecosystem that yields comprehensive insight into minimally invasive, cost-effective and publicly acceptable solutions, with a state-of-the-art system for evaluation, regulation and uptake, to ensure ED&D is a routine reality. Patients and the public will be actively engaged in ED&D, championing its transformative potential to improve health outcomes. - Vision of the Early Detection and Diagnosis of Cancer Roadmap
In order to work towards this shared vision, the Roadmap recommends a series of 14 actions classified under 4 themes:
- Theme 1: Understanding risk and prognosis: biology to technology
- Theme 2: Biomedical data science and systems
- Theme 3: Incentivising and supporting development and commercialisation
- Theme 4: Health system innovation and accelerating adoption
Researchers in Oxford are already working with others in the ED&D community on many of these actions. The ED&D Roadmap now provides the framework to prioritise efforts and accelerate progress.