National Institute for Health Research Biomedical Research Centre
Our Research: Cancer Prevention and Early Detection

Early detection

The early detection of cancer is important for improving survival rates in Greater Manchester.

When cancer is diagnosed at an early stage, surgery can be curative, but late stage disease is often terminal. We have brought together expertise in screening and early detection to develop a single unified programme of work spanning different cancers.

Through our research we are:

  • Assessing the impact of targeted community-based lung cancer screening in deprived areas of Manchester.
  • Testing novel diagnostics for gynaecological cancers, particularly endometrial and ovarian cancer.
  • Using James Lind Alliance methodology to determine the top ten most important research questions in cancer early detection.

Progress to date

  • Delivered the UK’s first community-based lung cancer screening programme; detected a high prevalence of lung cancer (3%), 80% at an early stage and a surgical resection rate 4 times the national average. Publication of results in the Journal Thorax BMJ.
  • Developed a simple non-invasive detection tool that could transform diagnostic pathways for endometrial cancer.
  • Assembled a Steering Committee for our James Lind Alliance Priority Setting Partnership in early cancer detection, with plans to survey the nation in late 2018.

Future work

  • Expand our lung cancer screening pilot across North Manchester and Yorkshire (Yorkshire Lung Cancer Screening Trial).
  • Pilot our endometrial cancer detection tool in primary care.
  • Establish the research priorities in early cancer detection to set the future research agenda.