Early Cancer Detection in Primary Care in Ireland: a protocol for a research prioritisation exercise

[version 1; peer review: awaiting peer review]


Benjamin Jacob, Laura O’Connor, Barbara Clyne, Heather Burns, Surour Alneyadi, Primary Care PPI Group (HRB Primary Care Clinical Trials Network), Richard D Neal, Patrick Redmond.


Cancer is a significant cause of morbidity, mortality and economic loss in Ireland. It is important that cancer research funding in directed in accordance with the values of a wide variety of stakeholders, so as to ultimately deliver tangible benefits to cancer patients. The aim of this study is to achieve consensus among key stakeholders (including patients, caregivers, healthcare professionals, policy makers and academics) regarding research priorities in the area of early detection of cancer in primary care in Ireland.

Methods: A research prioritisation exercise adapted from the James Lind Alliance (JLA) consensus framework will be used to enable all key stakeholders to identify and prioritise research questions. This involves the following stages: (1) setting up a steering group and priority setting partnership, (2) gathering potential research questions via an online survey, (3) processing, categorising and summarising the research questions, (4) identifying the unanswered research questions, (5) determining the top 10 research priorities via a consensus workshop.
Results: The following outcomes will be reported: (1) the “top 10” list of the most important research questions in early cancer detection in primary care; (2) a list of unanswered research questions which ranked outside of the top 10; (3) a list of research questions that were proposed but considered to be already answered by a panel of academics working in the field.

Conclusions: The co-production of consensus derived research questions in early cancer detection will provide a platform for both funders and researchers to concentrate on the most significant issues to stakeholders, especially patients and their doctors.