The National Cancer Research Institute (NCRI) has recently released the UK Top 10 living with and beyond cancer research priorities. NCRI partnered with the James Lind Alliance on a Priority Setting Partnership that involved two UK-wide surveys which attracted more than 3500 responses. From these, they identified 26 key questions and distilled these down to 10 top research priorities.
This is the first time that clear research priorities have been identified in this area.
The new priorities have been developed by cancer patients, carers, health and social care professionals. Key questions include: how can treatment side-effects, such as fatigue, be prevented or managed; what is the impact on mental health; can lifestyle changes restore patients’ health; and can we predict who will experience side effects?
The NCRI is now working with funders, researchers and the UK’s NHS to translate these priorities into research and patient benefit. They will be working to stimulate funded research programmes that can make much-needed progress in improving health and quality of life for those people living with the consequences of cancer.
As a founding member of the Less Survivable Cancers Taskforce (LSCT), Guts UK is committed to doubling the survival rates of the deadliest cancers from 14% to 28% by 2029. Like the NCRI, we need more research to be carried out to ensure those who are suffering have the best chance of survival during their diagnosis and prognosis. Oesophageal and pancreatic cancer are amongst the least survivable cancers. Here at Guts UK, we are currently funding research into oesophageal cancer. If you would like to read more about this research carried out by Professor Laurence Lovat please click here.
The Less Survivable Cancers Taskforce (LSCT) is dedicated to achieving its goals of:
- Increasing investment in research
- Raising awareness of the symptoms of the six less survivable cancers
- Diagnosing and treating the cancers more quickly
- Increasing the number of clinical trials and treatments approved
- Setting targets with Government to improve survival
These goals go hand-in-hand with some of the NCRI ‘Top 10 living with and beyond cancer research priorities.’ In particular, raising awareness of symptoms and diagnosing and treating cancer quicker; these both coincide with making sure patients and carers are ‘appropriately informed’ of cancer diagnosis, treatment, prognosis and side effects (2) and how the short term effects of cancer can be treated, prevented or managed better (6).
Guts UK shares the goal of gaining a better understanding of how lifestyle changes improve quality of life and help alleviate symptoms. We are particularly interested in the importance of maintaining a healthy diet in the event of a bowel cancer diagnosis. Regular exercise can make patients stronger and can have a positive impact on mental health and alleviating fatigue.