Cancer Awareness, Screening and Diagnostic Pathways Research Group

Cancer outcomes, including survival rates, have improved significantly over the years, but in order to ensure every person with cancer has the very best diagnosis, treatment and care, more research is needed.

The Cancer Awareness, Screening and Diagnostic Pathways Research Group (CASP) exists to support colleagues engaged in applied health cancer projects.

In particular, those projects related to improving earlier cancer diagnosis through:

  • Screening access and uptake
  • Symptom recognition and help-seeking
  • Primary care diagnosis and referral
  • The primary-secondary care interface
  • Care pathway redesign


Cervical screening study

Title: Cervical screening study

Contact: Alison Bravington

The incidence of cervical cancer in women over fifty in the UK is predicted to rise by 62 per cent over the next twenty years – by 2036, the highest incidence of cervical cancer will be seen in women aged 50 to 59.

A quarter of all women do not attend for cervical screening – the reasons for non-attendance specific to women over 50 remain largely unexplored. It is imperative to gain a better understanding of the cervical screening experience from the perspective of women in this age group, with a view to addressing problems and increasing attendance

This project aims to explore experiences of screening among women over 50 and the health care practitioners who screen them, and to develop interventions to increase attendance, and to promote screening practice which is sensitive to the needs of women in this age group.


Title: Cancer Diagnosis via Emergency Presentation:  a case-control study (EMPRESS)

Funding: Cancer Research UK

Contact: Dr Laurie Dunn and Professor Una Macleod

Cancer remains one of the UK’s biggest health issues, both in terms of morbidity and mortality.  In recent years there has been increasing interest in the pathway to diagnosis, as international data have shown that one year survival figures for many cancers are poorer in the UK than in comparable countries. It is already well established that for the majority of cancers, diagnosis within the context of an emergency presentation results in poorer outcomes. The purpose of this study is to investigate what happens to patients in the period before presentation as an emergency on the ‘route to diagnosis’.

The overall aim of this study is to identify whether there are differences in pathway to diagnosis between patients who are diagnosed with lung or colorectal cancer during an emergency presentation compared to those diagnosed via the 2ww pathway.

GP waiting room

Title: GP waiting room

Contact: Alison Bravington

It has been shown that passive interventions such as leaflets and posters are an effective way of promoting healthy behaviours, but research in this area tends to focus on a broad range of health information.

This study will focus specifically on information that promotes awareness of cancer symptoms, and how this is distributed and taken up by patients in GP waiting rooms.

The policy question addressed by the study is: how do and how can general practice waiting rooms best raise awareness of the signs and symptoms of different cancers?


Title: Improving help-seeking for and primary care management of lung symptoms in Hull

Funding: Yorkshire Cancer Research

Contact: Julie Walabyeki

Incidence and deaths from lung conditions are more common in Hull than in England as a whole, and higher than any other area of Yorkshire. Hull is the 3rd most deprived local authority in England and has the highest prevalence of smoking in England. Previous research conducted in Hull and surrounding areas suggests that not only do smokers experience cough and breathlessness than non-smokers, they are also less likely than non-smokers to consult their doctor for cough. There is therefore a need to develop interventions, which would result in patients at risk of lung conditions, seeking help earlier and being referred sooner for lung symptoms.

Our aim is to improve earlier diagnosis of lung conditions by working to support 1) People to see their doctor if they get lung symptoms, and 2) GPs to refer people sooner.

TRANSFORMing Cancer Outcomes in Yorkshire

Title: TRANSFORMing Cancer Outcomes in Yorkshire – funded by Yorkshire Cancer Research

Funding: Yorkshire Cancer Research

Contact: Professor Una Macleod

The Academy hosts key projects within the Transform programme. Cancer outcomes are poorer in Yorkshire than in England as a whole and especially poor in Hull. People with higher socioeconomic status have substantially better health than those with lower socioeconomic status; this is also true of cancer outcomes.

TRANSFORMing Cancer Outcomes in Yorkshire – funded by Yorkshire Cancer Research, or ‘TRANSFORM’, is a programme of research that aims to tackle these inequalities.

TRANSFORM is funded by an award of £4.9million from Yorkshire Cancer Research and will primarily focus on early diagnosis and detection of cancer, patient management and survivorship and palliative care.

For more information please visit the TRANSFORM pages.


Title: WORKPLACE: Improving lung health at the WORKPLACE

Funding: Yorkshire Cancer Research

Contact: Julie Walabyeki

More people are diagnosed with and die from lung cancer in Hull than any other place in Yorkshire. This is because Hull has the highest number of people who smoke in England. It is known that if lung cancer is diagnosed earlier, people are more likely to live for longer. This is also true for patients with lung cancer who stop smoking before treatment.

National statistics suggest that people within manual/routine occupations are likely to smoke more than those in other jobs and are therefore an important group to target. These workers include postal workers, receptionists, food, drink and tobacco process operatives, assemblers and construction workers for example. This study will further develop our work in improving lung health in Hull by extending a previous study into workplaces with mostly manual/routine employees. We gained experience in developing a media and community-based intervention to promote lung health and demonstrated an increased awareness of potential lung cancer symptoms. We will build on this by adapting the intervention for use in workplaces. We also seek to enhance our intervention that will increase awareness of potentially serious chest symptoms with initiatives that help people to stop smoking.

We would like to find out whether the workplace is a suitable environment to engage with employees regarding lung health, recognition of potentially serious chest symptoms and going to see the doctor and whether there is a suitable intervention that can be used at the workplace. 


1. To find out whether using the workplace is a suitable environment to work with employees to:

a. Learn more about lung health.
b. Recognize potentially serious chest symptoms.
c. Encourage the employees to contact the doctor as soon as possible. 



CASP research group members
Name Role
Dr Olufikayo Bamidele* Research Associate (Evidence Synthesis)
Dr Joanne Cairns* Research Fellow
Matthew Dell Research Study Administrator (TRANSFORMing Cancer Outcomes in Yorkshire)
Dr Laurie Dunn Research Fellow in Primary Care
Sarah Greenley* Research Fellow (Information Specialist)
Dr Charlotte Kelly* Career Development Fellow
Micky Kerr Research Fellow (PRIORITY Study)
Professor Una Macleod Dean
Jackie Newman Research Study Administrator (PEOPLE-Hull Study)
Dr Julie Walabyeki Research Fellow
Alex Young Research Associate (PEOPLE-Hull Study)

*These are all funded by the TRANSFORMing Cancer Outcomes in Yorkshire programme (TRANSFORM)

PhD students

  • Arwa Abdal-Aal
  • Emily Lunn
  • Ben Pickwell-Smith
  • Rebecca Price