The Mason Medical Research Trust have awarded CanTest Clinical Research Fellow Dr Stephen Bradley, from the University of Leeds, almost £15,000 to support research into more effective diagnosis of lung cancer using chest x-ray.
The project will utilise routinely collected data to determine the risk of lung cancer in patients who have symptoms, such as a cough, but who have had a normal chest x-ray. The grant will be used to fund a research assistant to analyse the data and build a ‘risk assessment tool’, so that patients and doctors can estimate the risk of lung cancer, depending on their symptoms.
Dr Bradley, the project’s principal investigator and also a GP explained:
“We are very grateful to the Mason Medical Research Trust for supporting this important work, which we hope will help improve decision making so that people with the highest risk of lung cancer get the extra tests they need as soon as possible, whilst those people who have a very low risk don’t go through the hassle and stress of unnecessary appointments, unless things don’t improve.”
Chest x-ray is a very useful investigation for diagnosing lung cancer and GPs are using this test widely to pick up more cases. However, Dr Bradley’s existing CanTest research has found that chest x-rays miss about a fifth of lung cancer cases. This new study aims to help GPs and symptomatic patients decide what their risk of lung cancer is, if they have had a normal chest x-ray.
CanTest Patient and Public Involvement representative Mr Pete Wheatstone who was involved in designing the project said:
“As someone who’s had cancer it was a surprise to me just how many times our main test for lung cancer, the chest x-ray, doesn’t pick it up. I think this study will be a big help to doctors to decide with their patients what they should do if they’ve had a normal chest x-ray result and they still have symptoms.”
CanTest Associate Director and University of Leeds colleague Prof Richard Neal said of the award:
“It is a terrific achievement to get this grant so early in Steve’s academic career and hopefully the first of many. The funding will allow this important work to be undertaken, lead to a high impact publication and inform future guidelines.”
As well as Dr Bradley, Mr Wheatstone and Prof Neal, the project team includes academic foundation doctor Luke Hatton, CanTest researchers Dr Beth Shinkins and Prof Willie Hamilton, as well as respiratory physicians Dr Rehima Aslam and Dr Mat Callister, and thoracic radiologist Dr Bobby Bhartia.