What is it?
Local Cancer Intelligence in Northern Ireland has been launched as a collaboration between Macmillan Cancer Support and the Northern Ireland Cancer Registry to consolidate cancer data in the country.
Designed by the London-based agency Addition (part of WPN Chameleon), the tool has been created to help public health commissioners understand the changing cancer population by drawing on data from various sources. It provides headline information on numbers, needs and experiences, including prevalence, incidence, mortality, survival, stage of diagnosis and patient experience. Data can also be filtered by cancer type, health and social care trust and council area.
Macmillan say the tool is unique because it is the only one for Northern Ireland that includes prevalence, incidence, mortality, survival, stage at diagnosis and cancer patient experience, easily accessible on one site. The geography levels and areas by which the data is available are the most up-to-date, including the new council areas (which replace the local government districts). Cancer Patient Experience data is available by all Northern Ireland trusts – this is not available on other local cancer statistics tools. The data is displayed in interactive charts that allow tailored visual comparisons between different groups of people living with cancer – for example, data broken down by age and gender.
What is its aim?
LCI forms an integral element in Macmillan’s campaigning work and the charity believes the tool will provide better access to the data needed to aid decision-making in Northern Ireland around matters such as treatment policy and funding.
Is it just for data experts?
"You do not need to be a data expert to use the tool," Macmillan told Third Sector. "Headline statistics are provided by area and tumour group for users not familiar with searching through data sets so they do not have to go through data spreadsheets.
"Statistics are provided for a local audience in a clear and accessible way. The tool has also been designed to work on PC, tablet and mobile devices (including the graphs) and frequently asked questions linked from each section provide further information."
How successful has it been?
LCI has only recently been launched, but Macmillan hopes people and organisations, commissioners and planners for the Health and Social Care Trusts, local politicians and MPs in Northern Ireland, the Northern Ireland Patient and Client Council and academic researchers will make use of the tool.
Macmillan has followed a collaborative route in that other cancer charities operating within Northern Ireland can use the tool to help them keep informed about the local cancer population’s needs, which can help them to make decisions and recommendations for proposals about cancer care and spending on cancer services.
What the charity says
Judy Fox, evidence tools project manager at Macmillan Cancer Support, said: "There wasn't a single point of access for cancer data in Northern Ireland or a way to analyse it all quickly. We identified a need to bring this data together, make it readily available online and easy for commissioners to use.
"According to NICR about 54,500 people were living with cancer in Northern Ireland in 2013. So while we know this information is invaluable for health commissioners and policy professionals, Local Cancer Intelligence is a great resource for anyone who wants to understand the cancer experiences in their local area."