“Index of Suspicion” has received a Cancer Research UK Pioneer Award

HDI has been awarded a Cancer Research UK Pioneer Award for research to improve the early diagnosis of cancer using machine learning and computer-based inference algorithms. We will analyse very large linked and unlinked datasets to ask:

1) Is it possible to identify patterns in medication given prior to the diagnosis of cancer and other data to derive an “index of suspicion” that a patient is at increased likelihood of developing subsequent cancer?

for different types of cancer; our suspicion is that the index may be most valuable for patients with cancers that present with vague symptoms – e.g. pancreatic, ovarian, stomach or brain cancer.
for different stages of presentation of the same cancer: for example, can we use the index to help identify common cancers at an earlier stage when they would have a better prognosis?
2) Using the index of suspicion derived in 1), can we risk-stratify patients in the unlinked prescription data to identify those who might be most at risk of developing a particular cancer?