doctors in meeting

Data analysis to help improve diagnosis of ovarian cancer

Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust has received a grant from Imperial Health Charity which will enable a team of doctors to explore a new approach to data analysis which could lead to more effective diagnosis and treatment for those with ovarian cancer.

The new methods will aim to analyse data that is already hold on the system, to establish a trend which could be key in providing vital information in how patient care pathways can be improved.

Ovarian cancer is the sixth most common cancer in women in the UK and sees 7,500 new diagnoses each year.

Currently, prognosis for women with ovarian cancer is relatively poor, this is due to patients coming forward at a late stage when the cancer is advanced or in some cases incurable.

Whilst data on women with this particular type of cancer does exist, analysis can be difficult to draw from it due to different doctors capturing the data in different ways.

The new iCARE (NHS Imperial Clinical analytics, Research and Evaluation) system will ‘clean up’ the current data that exists and anonymise it, ready to be stored in the NHS system.

Through the new data analysis, the NHS Trust hope to improve health inequalities in cancer patients in different geographical locations across England and gain a firmer understanding as to why these inequalities exist.

The team of doctors participating in the programme is led by Dr Laura Tookman who said: “There is a wealth of patient data already captured in NHS systems that has the potential to give us hugely important insights into a variety of health conditions. In the case of ovarian cancer, where symptoms can be difficult to distinguish from other diseases and so diagnosis can come very late, this data has the real potential to make a difference.

“Our project will take a data set that is currently quite difficult to navigate and make it useful for clinicians, who we hope will then be able to improve outcomes and reduce inequalities for their patients as a result of our findings.”

The findings of the data analysis will be applied to clinical pathways to improve patient experience and outcome.

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