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Mr. Srdjan Saso leads pioneering research project aiming to use online search engine data to further early identification of gynaecological cancer

Chelsea Surgical Partners Founding Consultant Srdjan Saso led the research team for a recent BMC Public Health paper on using online search engine data to assist early detection of gynaecological cancer cases. It is hoped that this research and the

utilisation of online data can help to identify cancer cases significantly ahead of GP referrals, providing clarity to patients and hastening access to critical medical care.

The project, led by Mr. Srdjan Saso and Dr Jennifer Barcroft along with colleagues at UCL and Microsoft, showed that whilst patients are often advised against googling symptoms, research now suggests online search data may help spot ovarian cancer cases up to a year before GP referral. Google data from 235 women was used to show that many were looking up symptoms online such as weight loss, bladder problems and bloating as early as 360 days before being issued referrals for suspected cancer. The researchers said this data was able to differentiate between those who did, and did not, have cancer.

CSP's Srdjan Saso, senior author and chief investigator for the study, described ovarian cancer as “one of the most lethal cancers for women”, as 70% of cases present when the disease has progressed to an advanced stage where prognosis can be poor, even with extensive surgery.

Dr Saso said: “The focus, therefore, remains on facilitating early disease detection.

However, we do not have a screening programme in place to enable this.”

He said the lack of a viable screening programme prompted the team to think outside of the box by looking at search engine data and stated that the results appear “very promising”, but further research is needed to validate the findings.

Mr. Saso's groundbreaking work on this project was covered extensively in the National Press, with articles across several prominent national newspapers and radio stations.


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