Awareness & Early Diagnosis

NAEDI | NCIN analysis | Other sources of information

This page summarises details of NCIN's work to support awareness and early diagnosis of cancer.

National Awareness & Early Diagnosis Initiative

The National Awareness & Early Diagnosis Initiative (NAEDI) was announced in the Cancer Reform Strategy and is being lead by Cancer Research UK and the Department of Health. It aims to coordinate a programme of activity to support local interventions to raise public awareness of the signs and symptoms of early cancer and encourage people to seek help sooner. NCIN works to support NAEDI's work both through our analytical work programme and through advising cancer networks and other bodies on how best to use the data available.

NCIN analysis and publications

Survival by disease stage at diagnosis

The Cancer Reform Strategy states that late diagnosis has been a major factor contributing to poor cancer survival rates in the UK. The importance of early diagnosis for outcomes is demonstrated in NCIN's data briefings on Colorectal Cancer Survival by Stage and Prostate Cancer Survival, which shows how relative survival rates drop when disease is diagnosed at late stages.

One-year cancer survival

Where stage at diagnosis is not available, one-year survival may be used as a proxy for early diagnosis (with better one year survival suggesting earlier diagnosis). As well as publishing one-year cancer survival by cancer network, NCIN and the Office for National Statistics have commissioned the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine to produce an index showing cancer survival by primary care trust for all cancers combined.

Routes to diagnosis

The importance of cancer awareness is emphasised by NCIN's work on routes to diagnosis, which looks at how cancer patients reach their diagnosis of cancer. The report shows that 24% of newly diagnosed cancer patients come through as emergency presentations. For almost all cancer types, one-year survival rates were much lower for patients presenting as emergencies than those presenting via other routes.

Local Awareness and Early Diagnosis Baseline Guide

Cancer Networks are expected to undertake a baseline assessment of awareness and early diagnosis in their area that will inform their Strategic Commissioning Plans. In collaboration with the National Cancer Action Team, NCIN has prepared a Local Awareness and Early Diagnosis Baseline Guide for cancer networks and primary care trusts who are conducting their local awareness and early diagnosis baseline audits.

Other sources of information

Cancer Awareness Measure

Cancer Research UK, University College London, King's College London and the University of Oxford have developed a set of questions - the Cancer Awareness Measure (CAM) - designed to assess cancer awareness. Results of the national baseline cancer awareness survey have been published, and 19 Cancer Networks are now using the Cancer Awareness Measure locally. The national data archive for CAM generated data is now available through the UK Data Archive, and has some national and local data uploaded.

NAEDI Supplement to the British Journal of Cancer

The special awareness and early diagnosis supplement of the British Journal of Cancer was published on 3rd December 2009. The supplement includes much of the evidence underpinning NAEDI, including evidence on the effectiveness of some interventions.