CRUK Early Diagnosis Research Conference – 4 & 5 June 2024

CanDetect Team

It had been a full five years since the last face-to-face CRUK Early Diagnosis Research Conference. Although the community had been enabled to meet twice online since the 2019, there was a definite feel of excitement, fresh energy and a sense of new beginnings as old friends and new colleagues alike gathered together again at the East Side Rooms in central Birmingham. Academic, policy, charity, NHS, PPIE and business delegates travelled from all points of the UK compass to take part, alongside a full complement of CRUK staff.

The full two-day programme included a wide range of presentations, seminars and parallel sessions encompassing an enormous range of research and policy interests and delivered by an even wider range of people; early career researchers and senior fellows, seasoned CRUK-funded groups and newly funded initiatives, NHS clinicians and people affected by cancer. Collectively presentations and posters enabled participants to take stock of the current state of play in early diagnosis research, policy and practice in the UK setting, as well as better understand the direction of travel for early diagnostic services: a hopeful as well as enormously challenging picture.

The opening session of the conference reflected on strategic approaches to early diagnosis in the UK nations and included comments and input from Professor Sir Mike Richards. Further full-conference presentations tackled the role of risk prediction in primary care, the current landscape in cancer screening, new innovations in cancer, inequalities in cancer diagnosis and the potential afforded by identifying timelier opportunities for early diagnosis.

Dr Garth Funston

Yo Green & David Holden

The CANDETECT team were prominent in both their presence and their presentations. Yo Green and David Holden (PPIE representatives) enjoyed listening and interacting with both the research and researchers alike. Dr Garth Funston was one of the first up to present data on the utility of PSA for the detection of prostate cancer in primary care. Professor Fiona Walter chaired the Early Career Researcher spotlight session on the first afternoon and Professor Georgios Lyratzopoulos chaired the main session on identifying opportunities for timelier diagnosis. Professor Suzanne Scott took the very last slot with her presentation on advice following urgent suspected cancer referral when cancer is not found. Several members of the team also presented posters which were displayed in the break-out space. These covered both CANDETECT work as well as related research funded separately and undertaken by wider teams; Dr Tyler Saunders and Dr Christina Derkson with CANDETECT-funded systematic reviews on risk prediction models and clinical decision support systems (CDSS) respectively, Dr Pilar Acedo and Professor Stephen Pereira on The ADEPTS Study (advancing early cancer diagnosis for pancreatic cancer and other pancreaticobiliary diseases), and Dr Laura Woods and Professor Stephen Pereira on the potential of screening for pancreatic cancer using machine learning in a primary care setting.

CanDetect Team relaxing at dinner

Evening dinner was a great social occasion. There was a notable collaborative spirit as the volume of the discussion at the circular dining tables gradually increased… The food was accompanied by a visual presentation of progress in early diagnosis research and policy since the first conference in 2011, including ‘from the archive’ photographs of many who have been active in pioneering this field (including some rather younger CANDETECT-ers!). We look forward to the next conference in two years’ time when further outputs of CANDETECT will surely be on show.



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