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The ‘ACE’ pathway

With Cancer Research UK and Macmillan Cancer Support, the Imaging Clinical Network is aiming to improve the accuracy and speed of cancer diagnoses through an innovative one-stop diagnostic pathway: ‘ACE’ (Accelerate, Coordinate, Execute). This was established to help improve cancer survival rates.

The project’s focus is on pathways for patients with a suspected diagnosis receiving specific diagnostic tests. When a patient receives a negative diagnosis they are often sent back to the referrer as being “disease free”. However, this does not take account of ongoing symptoms which subsequently remain undiagnosed.

The ACE pathway is part of a national programme designed to access the rapid investigation of “vague” or “non-specific” symptoms and clinical signs which could represent cancer or another serious disease. These patients would otherwise be ineligible for urgent investigation or referral. It also functions as a single testing location where a patient can undergo several tests relevant to their symptoms on the same day.

The Imaging Clinical Network will be delivering and analysing the effectiveness of whole body CT scans for patients that fit this “low risk, but not no risk” category. This would resolve the issue for patients who slip through gaps in service in these ways and subsequently have delays in diagnosis.

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