A new Cancer Insight Centre (CIC) has been launched by the Doctors.net.uk network, which aims for it to become the leading online resource for news, information and research on the five most common cancers in the UK.

This unique resource for oncologists, haematologists, GPs and other medical professionals involved in cancer care has been created in support of the government's stated objectives around early diagnosis, says the group. 

The Centre will analyse the latest oncology research and provide video highlights from leading oncology conferences, and will also include access to advice from specialist oncology advisers and a secure online forum where doctors can share information.

The range of information provided by the CIC will include insights into the impact on developments in global cancer research. The resources will be added to continually, with further groups of cancers being included over the coming months, says Doctors.net.uk.

The CIC's launch has been welcomed by National Clinical Director for Cancer Mike Richards, who said it "will provide a much-needed educational resource that enables doctors to keep abreast of the latest news, views and developments in cancer diagnosis and research, and to learn and collaborate with each other in an effective way."

"The government's National Cancer Strategy puts early diagnosis at the heart of its commitment to bring England's cancer survival rates in line with the best of Europe," said Prof Richards. "It is important that doctors continually improve their knowledge and understanding of cancer and have easy access to information and resources that are helpful to them," he added.

Medical oncologist Adam Dangoor of the Bristol Haematology and Oncology Centre points to the "pressing need" for the provision of up-to-date, reliable information on cancer management and says the Centre "will be an important resource both for specialists and those in primary care. It can be difficult to wade through the enormous amount of information now available - the collation of these resources will highlight some of the most useful developments," says Dr Dangoor.

The first NHS Foundation Trust to use the CIC to engage with doctors on cancer-related topics will be world-leading cancer centre The Royal Marsden. Activities will include a roundtable debate on radiotherapy that can be viewed on video via the Centre.

Roche is among the pharmaceutical companies which will be sponsoring independently-authored educational resources within the CIC. "Our aim is to ensure that information about the best clinical practice is in the hands of those who need to make decisions on behalf of their patients," noted Darren Fergus, oncology portfolio manager at Roche Products Ltd.  The launch of the CIC "helps achieve the vision of ensuring UK patients receive world-class cancer care," he said.