Researchers at the University of Nottingham are undertaking two key research projects aimed at tackling the UK’s most deadly cancer.
Dr Andrew Wilcock and Dr Emma O’Dowd have won funding of £227,000 from Roy Castle Lung Cancer Foundation to lead investigations into lung cancer – which claims the lives of 35,000 people every year. The aim is to establish how this disease can be diagnosed earlier and ultimately save more lives.
Dr Wilcock, in the School of Molecular Medical Sciences, is investigating why almost 40% of patients with lung cancer are diagnosed following an emergency admission to hospital and not before.
While Dr O’Dowd is comparing those patients who have a poor prognosis with those who have a good prognosis to see if she can identify any differences in their backgrounds or how they were diagnosed.
Paula Chadwick, chief executive of Roy Castle Lung Cancer Foundation, said: “The University of Nottingham is a centre of excellence for lung cancer research and we are delighted to fund these projects. We are funding this research because lung cancer patients deserve so much better than the current situation.”
Dr Wilcock said: “People diagnosed with lung cancer are more likely to be older, female and from deprived backgrounds. Most have advanced disease and survival is poor, but little else is known about this group. The aim of our study is to obtain a detailed understanding of the characteristics, needs, experiences and outcomes of this group. We hope to identify where there is scope to improve treatment and care offer to this group of patients and their carers.”
Dr O’Dowd is looking at how to improve survival rates -11% of lung cancer patients die within 30 days of being diagnosed and 26% die within 90 days.
Dr O’Dowd said: “The statistics are pretty depressing but the aim of my study is to find a way to improve the situation for the 40,000 people diagnosed with the disease each year. One of the reasons why so many people die from this disease every year is that the majority of patients are diagnosed too late - when curative treatment is no longer an option. We want to see if there is any other link between the patients which could potentially explain why they have such a poor prognosis.”