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DH set to pilot GP cancer risk prediction tool

Exclusive: The Department of Health is preparing to trial giving GPs access to primary care risk calculators as part of its initiative to diagnose cancer earlier, Pulse can reveal.

In an exclusive interview with Pulse, DH cancer tsar Professor Mike Richards said he was in discussions with researchers at the University of Nottingham to pilot the use of their QCancer risk calculator in GP practices.

Developed by the same researchers who created the cardiovascular risk calculator QRISK, the cancer calculator has been called a ‘vitally important' development by RCGP chair Dr Clare Gerada.

Professor Richards told Pulse he was determined to find ways of supporting GPs to identify cancer earlier as part of the National Early Cancer Diagnosis Initiative.

He said: ‘I certainly think that the QCancer approach is a very interesting one, and I think it may have appeal to GPs who are already familiar to the QRISK approach in cardiovascular disease.'

‘The test now is going to be to what extent GPs find it helpful in their routine clinical practice. I am already in discussions with the authors about how we might take this forward.'

The move follows plans revealed in Pulse earlier this year to embed the calculators in GP practice systems.

Professor Julia Hippisley-Cox, professor of clinical epidemiology and general practice at the University of Nottingham and a GP in the city, said  they had reached an agreement with EMIS and were in talks with the providers of TPP SystmOne to make it available directly to GPs via their IT system provider.

Professor Hippisley-Cox said: ‘Validation studies, which have included testing on Vision as well as EMIS databases, are very promising.'

'We welcome the opportunity to work with together with Mike and his team and related organisations to trial QCancer in primary care to help improve early diagnosis of cancer and optimise use of diagnostic tests.'

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