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Woman checking her breast for lumps

Dr Gurdeep Mannu from the Nuffield Department of Population Health has won the Office for National Statistics (ONS) Research Excellence Award for a study which highlighted early risk factors for breast cancer patients. 

The study, which looked at more than 25 years of data on women receiving different breast cancer treatments, has been recognised by the ONS in its Research Excellence Awards for its insight and its important implications for management of patients with this kind of early-stage breast cancer in the future.   

Dr Gurdeep Mannu’s research showed that women who are diagnosed with ductal carcinoma in situ (an early-stage breast cancer) during breast screening go on to experience higher risks of developing invasive breast cancer and of death from breast cancer, compared with the general population. 

The research looked at data on 35,000 women in England diagnosed as having ductal carcinoma in situ by the NHS Breast Screening Programme from 1988 to 2014. It combined ONS mortality data with Hospital Episode Statistics from NHS Digital to show that the rate of women later developing invasive breast cancer was more than double what was expected, while mortality rates were 70% higher than expected. 

These findings will have important implications for management of patients with this kind of early-stage breast cancer in the future. 

Dr Mannu’s project was chosen from a list of 20 applications, including research which was instrumental in shaping government COVID-19 decision-making and analysis. 

The National Statistician Sir Ian Diamond said ‘These awards recognise and celebrate outstanding, innovative research carried out using ONS secure data or data managed by ONS on behalf of others. Dr Mannu’s research was selected as the worthy winner in a year that has seen an exceptional standard of entries. 

‘The potential impact of this work highlights the vital importance of sharing and linking data and it is fitting that he receives this award as we are marking Breast Cancer Awareness Month in the UK.’ 

Upon receiving the ONS Research Excellence Award Dr Mannu said ‘I am absolutely delighted that our work has received this award. The Non-Invasive Breast Cancer in England study has been a highly collaborative project from the outset, bringing together data from the National Breast Screening Service, the National Cancer Registration and Analysis Service and the Office for National Statistics.

‘This paper is the first to arise out of the project and we are currently working on several other aspects of the disease. Receiving this award has reinforced my enthusiasm for using the population-based data that Public Health England are able to collate in order to help those diagnosed with cancer.’ 

Funding for the study was provided by Cancer Research UK, the National Institute for Health Research Oxford Biomedical Research Centre, and the UK Medical Research Council. For information on other award winners and those who were commended for their work, please visit the ONS website.