Review of national cancer screening programmes in England

A review of national cancer screening programmes in England has been commissioned by NHS England. The review is expected to culminate in a report and recommendations on the future commissioning and delivery of cancer screening programmes in England.

Consultation response

The following is our response to a call for evidence from the review.

Whilst Polygenic Risk Scores or Genomic Risk Scores have potential to refine and improve cancer screening via more accurate stratification of populations into risk sub-groups, one issue to be addressed is the applicability of currently available risk scores to non-Caucasian populations, as they have largely been developed based on genetic / genomic information derived from Caucasian populations. Failure to attend to this limitation would have a negative impact on other populations in whom resulting risk tools may perform less effectively as well as undermining trust and confidence in these tools more generally.

Similarly, any development of AI based tools for healthcare, including forms of cancer screening must involve careful consideration of population diversity and potential bias when identifying and collating datasets for training and validating these tools, to mitigate against potential disparities in performance among different population groups and sub-groups.

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