What we do

Optimising primary care diagnosis and management of cancer

Theme leads: Professor Una Macleod and Dr Liz Mitchell

Cancer outcomes are poorer in Yorkshire than in England as a whole, and are especially poor in Hull. Improving cancer care, including tackling inequity, has been a core theme at the heart of primary care research in the Medical School since its inception.

This highly successful research group has led and delivered new research into early diagnosis survivorship and end of life care that addresses urgent local, national and international needs.

This work has been supported funding from NIHR, Cancer Research UK, Yorkshire Cancer Research and Macmillan Cancer Support. Since 2015, the group has attracted over £12m of grant income.


Bowel scope screening

Contact: Trish Green

Bowel cancer (colorectal cancer, CRC) is the second leading cause of cancer-related deaths in the UK. Screening has the potential to reduce mortality form CRC via early detection (Faecal Occult Blood test, FOBt; and Bowel Scope Screening, BSS) and prevention (BSS). Uptake of BSS could therefore play a vital role in reducing the number of preventable cancer deaths. However, Hull has very low rates of screening uptake.

This RCT will develop and test the effectiveness of three primary care-led interventions to increase uptake of BSS in Yorkshire, with a specific focus on Hull. The RCT will run for a 6-month period from July 2018, followed by a 3-month evaluation period involving GP practice staff and a randomly selected sample of patients.

Cervical screening study

Contact: Alison Bravington

The incidence of cervical cancer in women over fifty in the UK is predicted to rise by 62 per cent over the next twenty years – by 2036, the highest incidence of cervical cancer will be seen in women aged 50 to 59.

A quarter of all women do not attend for cervical screening – the reasons for non-attendance specific to women over 50 remain largely unexplored. It is imperative to gain a better understanding of the cervical screening experience from the perspective of women in this age group, with a view to addressing problems and increasing attendance

This project aims to explore experiences of screening among women over 50 and the health care practitioners who screen them, and to develop interventions to increase attendance, and to promote screening practice which is sensitive to the needs of women in this age group.

GP waiting room

Contact: Alison Bravington

It has been shown that passive interventions such as leaflets and posters are an effective way of promoting healthy behaviours, but research in this area tends to focus on a broad range of health information.

This study will focus specifically on information that promotes awareness of cancer symptoms, and how this is distributed and taken up by patients in GP waiting rooms.

The policy question addressed by the study is: how do and how can general practice waiting rooms best raise awareness of the signs and symptoms of different cancers?


Improving help-seeking for and primary care management of lung symptoms in Hull

Contact: Julie Walabyeki

Incidence and deaths from lung conditions are more common in Hull than in England as a whole, and higher than any other area of Yorkshire. Hull is the 3rd most deprived local authority in England and has the highest prevalence of smoking in England. Previous research conducted in Hull and surrounding areas suggests that not only do smokers experience cough and breathlessness than non-smokers, they are also less likely than non-smokers to consult their doctor for cough. There is therefore a need to develop interventions, which would result in patients at risk of lung conditions, seeking help earlier and being referred sooner for lung symptoms.

Our aim is to improve earlier diagnosis of lung conditions by working to support 1) People to see their doctor if they get lung symptoms, and 2) GPs to refer people sooner.

TRANSFORMing Cancer Outcomes in Yorkshire

TRANSFORMing Cancer Outcomes in Yorkshire – funded by Yorkshire Cancer Research

Contact: Professor Una Macleod and Dr Liz Mitchell

The Academy hosts key projects within the Transform programme. Cancer outcomes are poorer in Yorkshire than in England as a whole and especially poor in Hull. People with higher socioeconomic status have substantially better health than those with lower socioeconomic status; this is also true of cancer outcomes. TRANSFORMing Cancer Outcomes in Yorkshire – funded by Yorkshire Cancer Research, or ‘TRANSFORM’, is a programme of research that aims to tackle these inequalities. TRANSFORM is funded by an award of £4.9million from Yorkshire Cancer Research and will primarily focus on early diagnosis and detection of cancer, patient management and survivorship and palliative care.

For more information please visit the TRANSFORM pages.


Cancer Diagnosis via Emergency Presentation:  a case-control study (EMPRESS) – funded by Cancer Research UK

Contact: Dr Laurie Dunn and Professor Una Macleod

Cancer remains one of the UK’s biggest health issues, both in terms of morbidity and mortality.  In recent years there has been increasing interest in the pathway to diagnosis, as international data have shown that one year survival figures for many cancers are poorer in the UK than in comparable countries. It is already well established that for the majority of cancers, diagnosis within the context of an emergency presentation results in poorer outcomes. The purpose of this study is to investigate what happens to patients in the period before presentation as an emergency on the ‘route to diagnosis’.

The overall aim of this study is to identify whether there are differences in pathway to diagnosis between patients who are diagnosed with lung or colorectal cancer during an emergency presentation compared to those diagnosed via the 2ww pathway.