Wednesday 3rd April 2013
An electronic Cancer Decision Support Tool (CDS) is being trialled at hundreds of general practices across the UK after tests found it was beneficial in highlighting certain symptoms, or combinations of symptoms, that indicate the possibility of cancer.
The tool can help GPs identify the signs of five cancer types, including some difficult to detect, such as ovarian and pancreatic cancer. It runs automatically on GPs’ computers using data the GP enters or has stored about a patient to calculate potential cancer risk. A prompt appears if the risk is above a certain level. GPs can also bring up a symptom checker on their screen. An earlier version of the tool was tested at 60 general practices.
Rosie Loftus, Macmillan Lead GP Adviser, says, ‘The CDS makes GPs more aware of the importance of spotting cancer early and helps them deal with the complex decisions around referring people who might have the disease.
‘It is hoped this predictive tool will help GPs with referrals and will mean fewer people die from cancer in the long-term.’
The pilot is funded by Macmillan and the Department of Health. Cancer Research UK is coordinating the evaluation.