The Mid Yorkshire Hospitals NHS Trust is getting behind a brand-new blood test for cancer called the PinPoint Test. The test is being evaluated by NHS England to explore how PinPoint could benefit suspected cancer patients in future. As part of the Trust’s commitment to the evaluation, they have appointed two new dedicated nurses to support PinPoint in their Breast clinic, with other pathways to be established in the near future.
The Mid Yorkshire Hospitals NHS Trust has been a long-term supporter of the project, but these appointments represent a huge boost to PinPoint and mean the Trust now joins GPs across the region in working closely with members of the public to recommend the PinPoint Test to suspected cancer patients. As support has grown, posters and leaflets for the PinPoint Test can be seen in waiting rooms across Wakefield, Leeds, Kirklees and beyond.
The Mid Yorkshire Hospitals NHS Trust’s Deputy Chief Executive, Trudie Davies, said: “The PinPoint Test looks for signs of cancer in the blood and generates a single, highly accurate result - the chance that a patient has cancer. If successful, the test promises to deliver shorter waiting times, reduced patient anxiety and improved early cancer detection.
“We hope that in future, the PinPoint Test will make sure patients at high risk are prioritised for earlier hospital appointments and faster diagnosis, whilst those at very low risk may be not need to go to hospital at all. Test results in 48 hours will mean that hundreds of thousands of patients each year could be saved the sleepless nights of worrying if their symptoms might be cancer.
“If you have just been referred for a fast-track appointment at Pinderfields Hospital Breast Clinic for suspected cancer symptoms – as thousands are each year – keep an eye out for a PinPoint nurse, who can help you sign up to support the PinPoint evaluation whilst you are there.
“At this stage, patients do not receive the results of their test, but every blood sample taken brings us closer to a better, safer service for friends and loved ones in the future.”
Last year, 2.8 million patients in England were referred by their GP for urgent cancer investigations after they complained of worrying symptoms. These tests can include invasive biopsies, colonoscopies or CT and MRI scans, but despite the growing number of referrals each year, only 7% of people are actually diagnosed with cancer. That means more than nine in every ten patients are given the all-clear.
The PinPoint system is designed to help patients in two ways. By accurately identifying patients at high risk of cancer, the PinPoint Test will be used to accelerate their referrals for investigation. Faster action means earlier detection and lives saved.
In addition, research shows that the PinPoint Test is potentially able to safely rule out cancer for up to 20% of patients. That means over 500,000 people each year that could avoid unnecessary testing and be given the all-clear before they go near a hospital.
The NHS PinPoint Test Evaluation is being run across the region by the West Yorkshire and Harrogate Cancer Alliance and, if successful, patients in this region will be the first to get access to this new test.
The PinPoint Test has been developed by PinPoint Data Science, in collaboration with the University of Leeds and Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust, with the support of the Yorkshire & Humber Academic Health Science Network.
NHS England has invested £1.7 million in the PinPoint project to help NHS partners across Humber and North Yorkshire, Lancashire and South Cumbria, Cheshire and Merseyside, Surrey and Sussex prepare for a potential roll out of the test next year.
Pictured left to right: PinPoint Nurses, Mary Counihan and Debbie Shackelton