Patterns in medication usage could provide a clue to later cancer diagnosis.
Cancer Research UK-funded scientists are to examine whether identifying patterns in medication given to patients before they develop cancer could improve early diagnosis.
Looking for patterns in prescriptions and other data could help guide GP referrals, especially in patients with non-specific symptoms that don’t obviously indicate cancer.
Only about half of those with the most common cancers have “red-flag” symptoms. And this is even lower in cancers with poor survival rates such as pancreatic, stomach, ovarian and brain cancer.
This research is being led by Health Data Insight (link is external)which has received funding through Cancer Research UK’s Pioneer Awards scheme. Together with Public Health England(link is external) and the NHS Business Services Authority(link is external) they have created an anonymous dataset of nearly all the primary care prescription data – approximately 80 million medications being prescribed each month.
The researchers will then link this information to data in the National Cancer Registration and Analysis Service(link is external) to look for trends in medications given to patients before they were diagnosed with cancer.
|Read Full Article: Prescription history could help GPs diagnose cancer earlier | Cancer Research UK|