Finalist category: People's Award
People's Award, Winner, 2017
Fighting back against cancer with early diagnosis
Diagnosing cancer is extremely challenging. Unlike other diseases, there is no single identifiable symptom or test that can alert Doctors to a potential cancer diagnosis. Cancer is a collection of signs, symptoms and risk factors, which often overlap with many other long-term diseases.
“The sooner we diagnose cancer, the better chance we have to cure it. Our vision has been to shift the stage at diagnosis so no patient, family member or community has to suffer the pain of another preventable death from Cancer,” said Dr Bhavagaya Bakshi, one of the two doctors responsible for a new health technology start-up.
‘C the Signs’ is a decision support tool, available on IOS, android and as a website. It uses artificial intelligence, combined with national evidence-based guidelines, to help General Practitioners (GPs) identify patients with Cancer early.
Using primary care data and evidence, their support tool can spot other less obvious signs and symptoms that feature in the early stage of cancers.
The technology they use means that data can be easily cross-referenced. Once a patient’s symptom reach a particular threshold, they are then referred on for more in-depth testing.
“For a long-time Cancer has hung like a cloud over both the Doctor and the Patients head, the dread of missing a diagnosis, and the dread of being diagnosed,” said Dr Miles Payling who, with Dr Bakshi is part of Kings20 Accelerator Program at Kings College London University.
“Primary care is well placed to help address this issue, as this is where the patient presents first, but GPs are generalists not specialists. The early signs and symptoms of Cancer are vague, non-specific and overlap with other long-term health conditions. On average GPs will see fewer than eight new patients with cancer each year, and may see a rare cancer once in their career.”
“The more proactive we are, the more we can remove the fear of Cancer, through raising awareness, education and communicating the importance of early diagnosis”
With their new support system, C the Signs, these two passionate and committed doctors hope to revolutionise the patients experience and journey with Cancer.
They are piloting the tool in two Clinical Commissioning Groups and have gained widespread support from leading organisations like NHS England, Macmillan and Cancer Research UK. Following completion of the pilot they will be launching the tool nationally to all GPs.