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Innovative cancer pathway scoops award

08/10/2020
The SCAN Pathway team

Oxford University Hospitals and Oxfordshire Clinical Commissioning Group have won Cancer Care Team of the Year at the BMJ Awards for an innovative cancer pathway run at the Churchill Hospital in Oxford.

The Suspected Cancer (SCAN) two-week pathway is specifically designed for patients with 'low risk but not no risk' cancer symptoms.

Patients are referred to the service by their GP if they have symptoms such as unexplained fatigue or unintended weight loss. If they meet the SCAN pathway criteria, they undergo CT scan and blood tests. If cancer is detected they are referred on to the appropriate consultant so they can start treatment quickly.

The judges said this outstanding project was "a great step forward in fulfilling the need for better pathways for patients with non-specific but worrying symptoms".

The Oxford Radiology Research Unit (ORRU) and the Radiology department at the Churchill Hospital are running the SCAN pathway which involves:

  • rapid access to Computed Tomography (CT) scanning
  • laboratory tests (blood and faeces tests)
  • any further tests if needed.

The clinical team is working closely with statisticians and researchers at the University of Oxford to continue to evaluate and improve the service, and to develop new types of blood tests for earlier cancer diagnosis in patients with non-specific symptoms.

More than 2,000 patients have been scanned since the service was launched in 2018. A total of 201 patients have received a confirmed cancer diagnosis from the pathway - a 9.4 percent conversion rate - and have gone on to receive the care they need.

Professor Fergus Gleeson, Consultant Radiologist at OUH, said: "We are absolutely thrilled that the SCAN pathway has been recognised in this way.

"The project saves lives and improves cancer outcomes for patients with early non-specific symptoms by reducing the time to diagnosis.

"The success of SCAN has been achieved through hard work, diligent planning and working with clinical colleagues.

"Oxford is now the 'go to' mentor site for other NHS sites who will roll out the pathway in the Thames Valley. The team has also grown to reflect the growth of the pathway with training to maintain the high attention to detail and consistent positive patient experience."

Zoe Kaveney, Cancer Programme Manager at Oxfordshire Clinical Commissioning Group, said: "The development and implementation of the SCAN Pathway has been the result of hard work and collaborative team work with passionate people who have strived to develop a service focusing on improving the experience for patients.

"To even be shortlisted for this award is an incredible achievement and so to win it has been a fantastic and unexpected surprise. We are all very proud of this new pathway and this is a brilliant way to receive recognition and celebrate that."

The Cancer Care Team of the Year award was 'presented' at a virtual ceremony on Wednesday 7 October 2020 to recognise the extraordinary and innovative work of healthcare professionals throughout the UK.

The SCAN team also won the Award for Improvement and Innovation at the OUH Staff Recognition Awards in 2019.