Melanoma is the UK’s fastest-growing cancer, yet there is still a lack of basic clinical information about the disease, including stage distribution and equity of access to treatments. Such deficiencies hinder the development of research and treatment.
Melanoma Focus’s Database Project was set up to improve data collection for melanoma and other skin cancers. Each Hospital Trust participating in the project will collect a wide range of standardised data – both current and historical – about their patients. This can then be interrogated and used for the benefit of their skin cancer service. The dataset will be anonymised and collated on a central database, to be used for audit and research under the oversight of Melanoma Focus. The charity is co-operating with the National Cancer Intelligence Network (NCIN) to ensure the data collected conforms, as a minimum, with the NCIN’s Cancer Outcomes and Services Dataset (COSD) standard for cancer reporting for NHS England. The project is also in touch with the Somerset Cancer Register about the sharing of data.
There is full funding of the project at each participating site for three years, including a fixed sum to employ a manager for data collection. The project has been generously supported by Roche, by means of an educational grant. Melanoma Focus is working closely with Icarsis Limited, which is providing the software systems to collect and aggregate the hospital data and to interrogate the anonymised dataset.
The Melanoma Database Project is making good progress in forming partnerships with NHS Hospital Trusts across the country. Several Trusts have begun work on the project, with more than 10,000 patient records already on the system. Other Trusts are expected to go live shortly or are in the set-up phase.
The charity has retained the services of Professor Barry Hancock OBE as its roving ambassador for the project.
Any Trusts wishing to explore the possibility of taking part in this important project should contact Simon Rodwell (firstname.lastname@example.org) for further information.