Our research and funding strategy, 2022 to 2027
Over the last 20 years Oracle has awarded £8m in research grants supporting early-stage research into Head and Neck cancers but we are faced with increasingly complex challenges across the UK; growing rates of late diagnosis, inequalities and lack of awareness.
In 2021 we spoke with patients, caregivers and, through surveys, to help shape our future direction and ensure we can have the greatest impact.
We listened and as a result our new strategy is focused on Awareness, Research and Service Delivery Innovation.
Our 5-year vision is that by 2027:
- Head and Neck cancers and their symptoms will be widely recognised;
- The rates of late stage diagnoses will be on the decline;
- Progress will have been made in reducing the inequalities within Head and Neck cancers;
- There will be more visible support for patients and their caregivers pre, during and post treatment;
- There will be an increase in sharing knowledge and experience to improve treatment options and quality of life for Head and Neck cancer patients.
To achieve this, we are focusing on two key pillars of activity:
Pillar One: Identifying and tackling inequalities in Head and Neck cancers
Currently there is no national audit and not enough data on Head and Neck cancers across the UK, NHS trusts and hospitals. We are working with key partners and stakeholders to address this.
The highest incidence and mortality rates of Head and Neck cancers, particularly non-HPV related cancers, are linked to deprivation, significant tobacco use, frequent and heavy alcohol consumption, poor oral hygiene and certain ethnic groups. There is a significant and noticeable gap in data to guide where and how these differences can be addressed.
Although significant advances have been made in recent years, including the use of immunotherapy and robotic-assisted surgery, there is still a significant gap in knowledge and research into how best to treat the more rare cancers such as Adenoid Cystic Carcinoma, Paranasal Sinus cancer and Nasal Cavity cancer. The quality of life for these patients is poor, leaving patients with debilitating speech, eating, swallowing and/or respiratory problems as well as psychological effects such as loss of function and change in body image. Many of these outcomes are life changing and can be permanent.
Awareness campaigns are key to early detection for all cancers including Head and Neck cancers. Local and targeted campaigns need to be run in parallel to national campaigns if the most at-risk groups are to be reached. Change requires repeated messages and ongoing efforts; it does not result from a single message. Community focused awareness campaigns need to ensure a focus on inclusivity. This would include consideration of location, format, content, language and mechanism of delivery.
Pillar Two: Better outcomes and improved quality of life
There is more to life after cancer than just surviving, and there is significant opportunity to improve existing pre, during and post treatment approaches focusing on quality of life. There is much more that can be done to have more targeted, less debilitating and more personalised combination treatments. Promoting and supporting more patient driven innovations across the patient pathway is a key focus of our research.
There is opportunity to research and innovate around new cancer drugs and other novel therapies. Access to these treatments needs to be across all patients regardless of their postcode.
How are we going to do this?
We will do this and deliver on our 5 year vision by;
- Raising and funding £2m in new grants.
- Engaging with individuals and communities across the UK to make sure that they have the information they need at whatever stage and whenever they feel they need it.
- Providing support and funding for projects that result in better data and improved patient outcomes for Head and Neck cancers
- Promoting greater attention to quality of life outcomes support pre, during and post treatment for Head and Neck cancer patients
- Supporting Patients and Caregivers by improving access to information, and creating opportunities to alleviate pressures within the NHS for Head and Neck cancer patients
- Encouraging collaboration and best practice sharing across the Head and Neck cancer community.
We will ensure everyone has the best chance of surviving Head and Neck cancer
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Oracle Cancer Trust is a registered charity in England and Wales (1142037). A company limited by guarantee. Registered company in England and Wales (7125497). Registered address: 80 Coombe Road, New Malden KT3 4QS