Improving diagnosis from the bottom up

CT scan colon cancerA report has been published this week assessing progress on cancer care in England over the past 20 years. In collaboration with Professor Sir Mike Richards and published by The Health Foundation, the report sets out recommendations to help close the gap in survival between patients diagnosed with cancer in England and other comparable countries.

Despite persistent ambitions to be the best in Europe and noted in successive cancer strategies, the gap in survival rates has not been closed. For example, a person diagnosed with colon cancer in the UK has a 60% chance of survival after 5 years, compared with 71% for those living in Australia.

Early detection and diagnosis of cancer is critical to improving a person’s chances of survival. The 5-year survival for bowel cancer is over 90% if caught early, but less than 10% if diagnosed at stage 4 and this is precisely the kind of disease where advanced disease screening in the form of ANCON Medical’s NBT technology can be life-saving. Non-invasive, simple to use, and affordable, the Nanoparticle Biomarker Tagging (NBT) device can detect the presence of disease, even in early stages, by measuring exhaled breath for signs of the disease.

The technology works by detecting breath specific “biomarkers,” which are DNA-protein controlled volatile organic compound (VOC) metabolites specific to diseases.

image of the small intestine“The NBT device is very versatile. With further development it could be used to screen for diseases such as bowel cancer and later be reassigned to test for a range of other diseases when needed,” says ANCON Medical’s CEO, Wesley Baker, who is a member of the Royal Society of Medicine. “Lung cancer, scleroderma, cervical cancer, the Flu virus, tuberculosis and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) are just some of the diseases where known biomarkers have been discovered, and ANCON’s NBT can improve the speed of diagnosis.”

Despite progress on reducing mortality, improving the chances of survival and the experience of care, for those diagnosed with cancer in England, the proportion at an early stage remained almost static between 2015 and 2017.

The Health Foundation report outlines measures required to close the gap, including radical improvements in the early diagnosis and detection of cancer. Despite recent investment in equipment to treat cancer, the UK has fallen far behind in the availability of diagnostic equipment per person, ranking 35th out of 37 countries for CT scanners, and 31st out of 36 for MRI scanners. There is also a shortage of staff to operate the machinery and report scan results, leading to delays in diagnosis and treatment.

To read more on this report, visit

For more information on ANCON Medical’s NBT technology, visit

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