Cookies on this website
We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you click 'Continue' we'll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies and you won't see this message again. Click 'Find out more' for information on how to change your cookie settings.

Every year, the British Medical Journal (BMJ) runs a competition to find the cancer care team that has developed new approaches to improve cancer diagnosis and treatment. This year, six teams were shortlisted from across the UK and on the 7th October it was announced that the Oxfordshire-based SCAN pathway had won this year’s award.

Group photo of the SCAN team
Scan Team, from left to right: Zoe Kaveney (Cancer Programme Manager at OCCG), Prof Fergus Gleeson (Professor of Radiology and Department of Oncology), Dr Shelley Hayles (OCCG Clinical Director of Planned and Cancer Care), Julie-Ann Moreland (Macmillan Project Manager/SCAN Navigator) and Dr Brian Nicholson (Macmillan Lead GP and Clinical Researcher for University of Oxford). Taken in February 2020

The Suspected CANcer (SCAN) pathway is designed to accelerate cancer diagnosis in patients with non-specific cancer symptoms. The UK performs worse than many other developed nations in terms of cancer survival and this is in part due to the fact that 21% of cancers are diagnosed after emergency presentation, when they are often at a later stage and more difficult to treat successfully.

In an effort to improve these statistics, urgent referral pathways for suspected cancer have been developed for symptoms specific to one cancer site. However, one in five people diagnosed with cancer only ever report non-specific symptoms of cancer, such as unexplained weight loss, fatigue, nausea, or abdominal pain. These people often experience delays due to being referred sequentially to multiple different tumour site-specific clinics before receiving a diagnosis. The SCAN team identified this unmet need and designed and implemented a new diagnostic pathway that straddles primary and secondary care for patients with non-specific but concerning cancer symptoms.

Patients are referred by their GP to the pathway based in the Churchill Hospital, Oxford, where they are investigated with a whole body computed tomography (CT) scan and undergo blood and stool testing. The outcome of these tests directs the patient to the most appropriate clinical expertise to reach a diagnosis as quickly as possible.

The full article is available on the Cancer Research UK Oxford Centre website

Similar stories

PhD Student of the Year 2022 Winner!

Congratulations to Nuffield Department of Women's & Reproductive Health DPhil student Josephine Agyeman-Duah on being named winner of PhD Student of the Year at the Postgrad Awards 2022.

Ethics at Westminster: A Workshop on Public Values and the Pandemic

At an event organised by the UK Pandemic Ethics Accelerator at the House of Commons on 18 May 2022, parliamentarians, policy makers and academics joined together to discuss how to bring ethical thinking and debate into public policy on pandemic recovery and preparedness, and how to involve the public.

Student Prizes for Biomedical Sciences and Medicine 2021-2022

Congratulations to all our Biomedical Sciences students and Medicine students who have been awarded prizes during the 2021-2022 academic year.

New study finds that politicians typically enjoy longer lives than general populations

New data show politicians have a considerable survival advantage over general populations, based on information from 11 countries and over 57,500 politicians. In some countries this survival advantage is at the highest level for 150 years, and life expectancy at age 45 was found to be around seven years higher for politicians compared to general populations in certain countries.

Five ways the pandemic has affected routine medical care

Since the beginning of the pandemic, COVID has infected at least a third of the UK population and is estimated to have factored in the deaths of almost 200,000 people in the UK. But critically, COVID has also had a devastating impact on our healthcare systems. While this was expected, new evidence is beginning to reveal the scope of the issue – in particular the effects for people living with long-term health conditions.