Vanguard Innovation has unveiled a digital platform designed to help GPs detect cancer.

The online project will help GPs recognise symptoms more quickly and develop a better rapport with their patients.

Named Gateway-C, the pioneering platform features a number of interactive films and other resources that will help doctors identify potential cancer symptoms and make the referral system more efficient.

The project also aims to reduce the number of patients whose cancer is detected only in accident and emergency departments.

Dr Catherine Heaven, Associate Director of The Christie School of Oncology and the lead for our GP cancer education project, said the online platform would help doctors feel better supported.

‘We know in Greater Manchester we are seeing too many patients diagnosed at a late stage, and we know if people get into the system in earlier they will do much better.

‘We recognise how hard it is for GPs to recognise early symptoms of cancer, especially when other illnesses are present. We want to support GPs to feel more confident in knowing which people to refer, to ensure they know how to refer in a timely way and to ensure that when making urgent two-week referrals, patients are properly prepared for what follows.

‘Gateway-C will help GPs to focus on what patients are really saying and realise in some cases that what they’re hearing is a red flag symptom. They can then be confident in screening for other cancer symptoms and making decisions about referral.

‘This will ensure GPs have the right support at the right time. Information alone doesn’t make the difference – we have to use that information wisely to help change people’s thinking and behaviour.’

Gateway-C was unveiled to an audience of health professionals and patient representatives at one of Vanguard Innovation’s regular Showcase events. A small number of GPs in Wigan and south Manchester will now help pilot the platform over the coming months before it is rolled out more widely in the summer of 2017.

It will feature a series of films that present GPs with a number of scenarios that challenge them to decide whether or not to refer a patient. It will also be a storehouse for educational opportunities and other resources in Greater Manchester, making it an authoritative gateway for primary care cancer education.

Saeed Shakibai, Macmillan service user involvement representative for Vanguard Innovation, who was diagnosed with rectal cancer in 2009, said: ‘Educating primary care providers is paramount in the fight against cancer.

‘Giving GPs a tool to help them with early diagnosis of cancer ultimately saves lives. The cancer journey is a challenging one for both the patient and their family and friends, but it is also challenging for our healthcare providers who do a wonderful job.

‘I know of many cancer vanguard projects currently ongoing, but none more important than Gateway-C. Why? Because, until such time that we have found a cure for cancer, let us make sure our GPs are armed with every tool necessary to detect signs of cancer early and refer the patient quickly for tests and treatment.’

You can view a film of the presentations below:

View the presentations here

  • Our next Showcase will take place on 17 January 2017 at Citylabs 1.0, Nelson Street, Manchester M13 9NQ, and will focus on our work in establishing new clinical standards. It will be hosted by Dr Roger Prudham, Deputy Medical Director of Pennine Acute Hospitals Trust.