Impact of the HeadSmart Early Diagnosis Campaign

Researchers are assessing the impact of the HeadSmart campaign on reducing diagnosis times and improving survival in children.

Professor David Walker and Dr Thomas Chu from the University of Nottingham are studying the patient records of children affected by brain tumours to determine whether earlier diagnosis of brain tumours can improve outcomes for those affected.

The HeadSmart campaign was introduced in 2011 and within two years helped to reduce the time taken to diagnose childhood brain tumours from 9.1 weeks to 6.7 weeks. The campaign aims to raise awareness of the signs and symptoms of brain tumours to further reduce diagnosis times to less than 5 weeks.

The researchers will link patient records with national databases for hospital care and the National Cancer Registry to assess whether early diagnosis has reduced the number of medical procedures required by patients and whether there has been an increase in survival.

The study will also investigate whether HeadSmart has contributed to a reduction in the side affects associated with brain tumours and treatment, such as blindness. The team will look at patient records from Moorfields Eye Hospital in London to assess whether earlier diagnosis has reduced the number of patients losing their sight.

The team hopes this study will provide definitive evidence that the campaign has had a positive impact on reducing diagnosis time and improving survival rates for childhood brain tumours.

Project information

Formal title: Impact of the HeadSmart - Be Brain Tumour Aware campaign (2011) on patient outcome, diagnosis and referral pattern in primary and secondary care using population-based data

Key Researcher: Prof. David Walker, University of Nottingham

Tumour type: Paediatric tumours

Research type: Early diagnosis

Timing: Granted in July 2013 for three years