Best4 Screening Study

To participate in this project, please click on the ‘Participate’ button below to access the online consent form:


The UK has the highest incidence of oesophageal cancer in the world. Oesophageal cancer is the 14th most common cancer and the 7th most common cause of death by cancer in the UK, accounting for 3% of all new cancer diagnoses.
Despite this, it is estimated that 59% of oesophageal cancers are preventable. Oesophageal cancer is usually diagnosed at later stages, when symptoms are more apparent. Seven in ten cases of Oesophageal cancer are diagnosed at a late stage, which heavily impacts on survival with an overall 5-year survival rate of 15-20%. When broken down by stage, stage 1 has a 55% survival rate compared to just 15% in stage 3 (Table 1), highlighting how important early diagnosis is to survival of the disease.

This project is supported by Cancer Research UK (SEBSTF-2021\100036, CRUK/22/005) and the Secretary of State for health and social care (entity representing the National Institute for Health Research) (NIHR135565).
The trial is jointly sponsored by Cambridge University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust and the University of Cambridge. Cancer Research UK and King’s College London Cancer Prevention Trials Unit (CPTU) is responsible for the day-to-day operations of this final part of a three-phase trial.
This project will build on the previous two phases, with the endpoint post trial being adopting the Cytosponge into mainstream practice throughout the UK. In this phase, iPLATO will send a text message to patients, within the research region, who have a record of at least six months of acid-suppressant medications within the past year.
Eligible patients will be identified and extracted via PDS (subject to NHS Digital approval). The patients will be provided information regarding the BEST4 Screening Study and invited to complete a short online survey.
The survey will ask a few health-related questions, seek consent for sharing their information, and ask them if they would like to participate in the trial. Based on their responses, a randomised selection of patients, will then be sent a follow-up text message inviting them to book an appointment for oesophageal cancer screening (via the Cytosponge test) using iPLATO secure online booking system.

This is a fully funded initiative to use text messaging technology to send out reminders to patients to invite them for Oesophageal Screening in order to improve uptake.

To participate in this project, please click on the ‘Participate’ button below to access the online consent form:


For queries please contact

Best4 Screening Study Project:

  • Message all eligible patients, up to a maximum of 500,000, within the research region, to inform them of the programme, using no more than one million SMS message fragments i.e. x2 fragments per message.
  •  Invite eligible patients to participate in an online survey and book an appointment via iPLATO's online Web Booking system.
  •  Ensure data is transferred safely and is used in line with data sharing governance arrangements agreed with King’s College London.
  • Provide online survey to capture additional patient health-related information and obtain patient consent for sharing their health data for the duration for the programme with the relevant data processors.
  • Provide a centralised online booking system:
    1. Ability to cancel and change appointments.
    2. Administrative access for clinical staff so they can view booking details including date, time, and location.
  • Provide automated appointment reminders to help prevent missed appointments.
  • Provide regular progress updates and project reports to enable monitoring and evaluation of service.

Data Processing and Data Sharing Summary

  1. iPLATO will facilitate the ongoing extraction of client demographic data via the practice clinical system phonebook, for which the data will be minimised as far as possible.
  2. All data is processed within the HSCN network.
  3. Only patients who have consented to receive SMS will be contacted.
  4. iPLATO Healthcare acts as a Data Processor for this service.