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NIHR | Manchester 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.
  • Refining how we can best identify the target population for lung cancer screening and engage with them.
  • Testing novel diagnostics for gynaecological cancers, particularly endometrial and ovarian cancer.

Progress to date

  • The Manchester Lung Health Check has changed national policy – we now have a national Targeted Lung Health Check programme, and we are leading implementation research nationally and in some aspects internationally. This not only takes screening and prevention into deprived communities, it has also taken biomarker research into supermarket car parks – taking research to the ‘hard to reach’ at scale.
  • Established the frequency of Lynch syndrome in Endometrial cancer (PETALS study) which has led to a NICE guideline recommending universal testing of this cancer.
  • Developed a simple non-invasive detection tool that could transform diagnostic pathways for endometrial cancer.
  • Published the top ten research priorities for detecting cancer early, carried out through public surveys and a priority setting partnership with the James Lind Alliance

Future work

  • Pilot our endometrial cancer detection tool in primary care.
  • Take a health years gained approach to screening selection for lung health checks.
  • Evaluate the acceptability of new early detection strategies.