This page provides details about the portfolio of CanTest projects. In order to form part of the programme, projects must be approved via a two-stage scientific peer review process. This includes assessment against the following principles:

  1. The current diagnostic process in primary care is a problem
  2. Improving the triaging and diagnostic process related to (1) may have value to patients and society by having a potential impact on the morbidity, mortality, patient experience or healthcare utilisation of patients with and without cancer
  3. There is at least promising evidence from Phase 1 or later phases of the CanTest Framework, or research from other settings
  4. The diagnostic process is potentially feasible in community or primary care settings

Below you can find out more information about our current projects:


Direct access to fast transvaginal ultrasound for earlier diagnosis of ovarian cancer

Denmark based study on access of transvaginal ultrasound through general practice to improve prognosis for ovarian cancer.
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Development of risk prediction models for breast, ovarian and prostate cancer

The CanRisk (cancer risk) assessment tool is being designed to assist clinicians in all clinical settings including primary care and genetics clinics.
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Guideline discordant diagnostic care: when do referrals not reflect guidelines for suspected cancer?

This study will look at how often GPs follow the guidelines and whether certain types of patients or patients with certain symptoms are more or less likely to be urgently referred when the guidelines suggest they should be.
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Melanoma risk assessment and tailored prevention in general practice

This PhD will be the first series of studies in Australia to test and measure the acceptability and usefulness of skin self-monitoring apps for melanoma from a patient perspective. Read more

Selection of eligible people for lung cancer screening using electronic primary care data

The aim of this study is to have an accurate, primary care-based tool embedded in primary care systems that selects patients eligible for CT screening for lung cancer. Read more

Aids to cancer diagnosis in primary care

This study is part of a wider Health and Technology Assessment study whose overall aim is to understand the effectiveness, cost-effectiveness and current use of cancer diagnostic tools to aid decision-making in primary care. Read more

Are patients with high-normal platelet counts at increased risk of cancer? The NORMA study

Our previous work found that cancer risk was greatly increased for people with clinically high platelets (cells in the blood that enable clotting). The NORMA study will investigate whether people with platelet counts at the high end of the normal range are also at increased risk of cancer. Read more

Evaluating the impact of NICE guidelines for suspected cancers in respect of diagnostic interval and other outcomes

The aims of this research are to explore changes in time to cancer diagnosis and estimate the early impact of the revision of NICE guidelines for suspected cancer on the time to diagnosis of cancer. Read more

Abdominal pain in primary care: establishing a clinical profile and diagnostic pathway for identifying cancer

Abdominal pain is a symptom commonly reported to United Kingdom general practitioners. This research will help to guide GPs into providing appropriate action for patients with unexplained abdominal pain. Read more

Tests and tools for the detection of ovarian cancer in primary care

In this multi-stage project, we will use routinely collected data to map how patients with ovarian cancer are currently evaluated and investigated in UK primary care, prior to diagnosis. Read more

Conceptualising and measuring patient experience in the diagnosis of cancer

This project will aim to explore the theory that a lack of evidence exploring how to optimally measure patient experience of diagnostic tests and strategies reflects a lack of appropriate conceptual frameworks and robust measurement tools about the patient experience of diagnostic tests. Read more

The role of imaging in the diagnosis of symptomatic lung cancer

This project focuses on lung cancer as a leading cause of death world wide. In the UK survival for patients diagnosed with lung cancer has been worse than for patients in many countries in Europe and North America. This project will compare data on tests and lung cancer from different countries. Read more

The diagnostic utility of inflammatory markers in primary care: a prospective cohort study

This project aims to find out whether blood tests called ‘inflammatory markers’ could help GPs to diagnose cancer. We will also look at whether they are useful for other important illnesses, such as infections and autoimmune conditions. Read more

International dataset inventory for the CanTest collaborative

This project aims to create a simple repository with detailed information on the data available, and linkage possibilities, as well as its applicability for potential use in relation to key CanTest research objectives. Read more

What is the clinical-effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of embedded risk-of-cancer assessment of patients in primary care: The ERICA trial

This is a cluster-randomised controlled clinical trial of electronic clinical decision support tools for six different cancer types in 710 English general practices. Read more

Understanding missed diagnostic opportunities in bladder and kidney cancer

This PhD project will use bladder and kidney cancer as exemplars to identify missed diagnostic opportunities in early cancer diagnosis. Read more

Establishing the diagnostic accuracy of haemoglobin in faecal immunochemical tests (FITs) in the primary care symptomatic population: A multicentre cohort study

This project will collect data to see how well FITs perform at diagnosing colorectal cancer in the primary care population, and to recommend a Hb level for further diagnostic testing when patients have a positive FIT. Read more

Multi-parametric magnetic resonance imaging (mpMRI) for prostate cancer diagnosis in primary care

This PhD project will explore a number of areas relating to whether it would be safe, acceptable, and cost effective for GPs to order MRI scans for men with symptoms suggesting a possible diagnosis of prostate cancer. Read more

Can dermoscopy be used accurately and effectively in primary care to improve the timely diagnosis of melanoma?

A systematic review of existing research focusing on whether dermoscopes, with suitable training, can be used accurately and effectively by GPs, to improve early diagnosis of melanoma. Read more