SYMPOSIUM: THE DISCOVERY PROGRAMME AND ITS INFLUENCE ON EARLY CANCER DIAGNOSIS
The DISCOVERY programme examined the broad subject of cancer diagnosis from several viewpoints: patient, practitioner, policymaker and commissioners of care. This is against a background of poor national cancer survival statistics – and with some of the ‘blame’ coming from delays in diagnosis. The DISCOVERY programme worked at three main levels: before presentation to medical care (where a series of studies examined barriers to, and facilitators of, presentation to a GP with a symptom); in primary care (where several studies sought to identify which symptoms actually matter in general practice – and thus which symptoms warrant urgent investigation); and at the interface (where we examined patients’ views on their involvement in a decision to investigate or not; on the potential yield of different programmes of symptomatic diagnosis; and a practical study incorporating all the preceding research into two areas in the UK).
The resulting mix of patient-influenced, high-quality science addressing many clinical and organisational questions has already been very influential in UK cancer diagnostics.