Pioneering Newcastle scientists provide ground-breaking cancer testing for patients

Newcastle Hospitals have been awarded over £1.8 million by NHS England to expand a new method of screening for cancer, which will help thousands of people across England to access earlier care.

The new approach provides an improved ability to test individuals for Lynch syndrome, an inherited condition that significantly increases a person’s risk of developing certain types of cancer, particularly colorectal, which is the fourth most common cancer in the UK.

If a person with cancer is detected as having Lynch syndrome, a DNA test can then be offered to their relatives to see who else has the condition, so that they can then be put on a regular programme of checks. 

People with Lynch syndrome start getting cancers in their teens and twenties. Sadly, symptoms are often ignored and it is estimated that there are over 100,000 people affected, with the vast majority unrecognised.

Ciaron McAnulty from Newcastle Hospitals is one of the lead clinical scientists for the project:

“The success of creating an accessible test for Lynch syndrome, is a strong example of close partnership working between NHS and research scientists, emphasising the value of sharing expertise and innovation across organisations.

“Bowel cancer is most often treatable and curable, especially if diagnosed early, with a good survival rate.

“This test can be carried out at low cost and in high numbers. It will help to identify thousands of cancers earlier, when it is easier to treat, giving a much more positive outcome for patients and families.”

Work to roll out the innovative test across the country will be in collaboration with colleagues from Newcastle University, the Academic Health Science Network for the North East and North Cumbria and other partners.

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