News Alert:

Early Detection and Diagnosis of Cancer – a Health Economist’s Perspective

30th November 2020

This MedTech NAVIGATOR Report provides a health economist’s perspective on the early detection and diagnosis of cancer.

The report will be relevant to SMEs and healthcare professionals based in the UK and to those based further afield.

Though cancer has been around throughout most of human recorded history, it is only recently, as the demographic composition of the human population has changed, that it emerged as a leading cause of death.

Cancer can be prevented, and its impact reduced if caught early. This is why early detection and diagnosis has been recommended as one of the key strategies in tacking the societal burden imposed by cancer. While the clinical benefits of early detection are evident, the health economic aspects are less clear-cut. 

As health economists are evaluating the different diagnostic interventions employed by healthcare systems, a patchwork of different outcomes emerges, where some diagnostic interventions prove themselves to be cost-effective, while others are less so.

Key findings of the report:

  • The advantages and disadvantages of various diagnostic strategies.
  • The case for better use of data sourced from secondary care, primary care, genomic profiling as well as user-generated data from consumer devices and the Internet of Things (IoT) to identify high-risk individuals early on
  • The diagnostic technologies used to test at-risk patients need to strike a delicate balance between diagnostic accuracy and cost to the healthcare system.
  • Cost-effectiveness can differ by type of cancer and the effectiveness of the treatment options available.
  • The challenges thrown up by the Covid-19 pandemic are expected to accelerate the expansion of diagnostic capacity in the UK as well as drive uptake of telemedicine, artificial intelligence (AI) and improvement in triaging tools.

Future cancer care is forecast to be dominated by the identification of high-risk individuals and preventative interventions. For those patients diagnosed, managing the condition will become more akin to managing a chronic condition. Easy-to-use technologies for monitoring and surveillance of the progression of the disease will be important pillar stones of future cancer care with liquid biopsy testing expected to play a significant role. Ultimately the diagnostic technologies need to facilitate improved decision making by clinicians and public health officials to lessen cancer’s impact on society.

Read the full White Paper

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