Around 1 in 5 people diagnosed with cancer in the UK take part in a clinical trial.
A trial looking at a way to assess the needs of people with cancer (CANAsses)
This trial looked at a tool to help GPs assess the needs of people with cancer. It was for people with any type of cancer.
The trial was open for people to join between 2017 and 2018. The team published the results in 2021.
More about this trial
People with cancer can have a variety of problems caused by their cancer and its treatment. These include:
- physical problems
- emotional and spiritual problems
- social and financial problems
These can affect how well people cope with having cancer, and affect their quality of life. So it’s important that GPs know about the problems people might have.
This trial looked at a tool to help GPs to find out about the problems (needs) that people with cancer and their carers have. It is called the Needs Assessment Tool Cancer (NAT-C).
Researchers already knew from other research that this tool can help specialist cancer doctors find out about people’s needs. But they didn’t know how useful it would be in GP practices.
This was a feasibility trial. The research team wanted to know if it would be possible to run a larger trial to assess NAT-C.
The main aim of the trial was to find out if the NAT-C tool can help GPs and practice nurses find out about the needs of people with cancer.
Summary of results
This trial was for people with cancer and their carers. They completed questionnaires when they joined the trial and after 1 month, 3 months and 6 months.
The research team did more detailed interviews with 15 people who took part. They also ran 4 focus groups to find out more about what people thought.
A total of 64 people joined this trial:
- 47 patients
- 17 carers
They were split into 2 groups, with some patients and some carers in each group. Doctors for one group were trained to use the NAT-C tool and used this to assess needs. Doctors for the other group could choose how to assess needs.
The research team found that more than 7 out of 10 people (72%) had at least one moderate or severe problem that wasn’t being addressed by their health care team. This is called an unmet need.
They also found that:
- people were happy to join and complete the trial
- people found the NAT-C tool acceptable
- they could collect and analyse the information
The research team concluded that the NAT-C tool could be useful to assess the needs of people with cancer and their carers.
They have gone on to do a larger trial looking at this in more detail. This is called CANAssess2, and we have more information about it on the following link:
A study looking at managing the needs of people with cancer (CANAssess2)
More detailed information
There is more information about this research in the reference below.
Please note, this article is not in plain English. It has been written for health care professionals and researchers.
A cluster randomised trial of a Needs Assessment Tool for adult Cancer patients and their carers (NAT-C) in primary care: A feasibility study
J Clark and others
PLoS ONE journal, 2021. Volume 16, issue 1.
Where this information comes from
We have based this summary on the information in the article above. This has been reviewed by independent specialists (
How to join a clinical trial
Please note: In order to join a trial you will need to discuss it with your doctor, unless otherwise specified.
Professor Miriam Johnson
Yorkshire Cancer Research
The Hull York Medical School (HYMS)
University of Hull