Cancer Research and Cancer Patients: It Feels Better And It Does You Good


Session type:


Richard Stephens1,Matthew Baker1,Carolyn Morris1



The National Cancer Patient Experience Survey (NCPES) annually captures data provided by patients recently treated by NHS Trusts in England delivering cancer care. Response rates hover around 65%, ie approximately 70,000 patient respondents pa.

The 2015 National Cancer Strategy, Achieving World Class Outcomes, highlights the importance of patient experience, and the Cancer Dashboard (2016) has a key NCPES-derived metric for it.


The NCPES questionnaires elicit information on a range of topics, including patients' participation in research and their ratings of the quality of care they experience. 

Downing et al analysed the survival of over 200,000 colorectal cancer patients diagnosed in England between 2001-2008, and set the data in the context of treatment in trusts with high or low rates of running clinical trials.


The 2013 NCPES showed that patients report significantly higher levels of satisfaction with their care when they have participated in research (1). 

Downing et al (2) found that patients treated in hospitals with high rates of research activity benefitted from lower levels of post-operative mortality and higher levels of five year survival.


The analysis of the 2013 NCPES provides the first evidence on a large scale to support the long-held view of the research community that research participation is linked to better patient experience. Downing et al provide evidence that patient outcomes are better in a research-active cancer care environment.

Patients may wish to consider participating in research and/or being treated in a research-active trust, to improve their own experiences and outcomes. Charities and support groups may wish to consider signposting the evidence to inform that Patient Choice.   

All patients should have equality of opportunity to benefit from the improved care and outcomes that research offers, as patients and carers themselves called for in their 2012 report, Action On Access (3).