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Prostate Pathology Reporting STUDY


UPDATE January 2022: The surveys have now closed. A big thank you to all who took part. For those who volunteered to help in the next stage of this project, we will be in touch shortly with details. Watch this space....


Background: Prostate cancer is the most common cancer in men and the demand for detailed prostate pathology diagnostics is significant. Men suspected of having prostate cancer usually have a biopsy to confirm the presence of cancer and the biopsy is examined by a pathologist and a written report of their findings included in the patient's notes. Men who opt to have their prostate removed surgically (for cancer or other reasons such as benign enlargement causing symptoms) will also have the prostate examined and reported on by a pathologist. 

Pathology Reports: In the UK prostate specimens (biopsies or surgically removed tissue) are examined and reported by pathologists following guidelines set out by the Royal College of Pathologists (RCPath). These guidelines suggest that reports include a number of diagnostic and prognostic features, such as tumour grade (Gleason grade), tumour size, extent of spread, and other details.

The Project: This study aims to improve reporting of prostate cancer by establishing what pathologists are reporting and what the clinical teams (urological surgeons and oncologists) think about those reports. To do this, surgeons, oncologists, and pathologists will be invited to complete a survey - there will be separate surveys for pathologists and surgeons/oncologists with slightly different wordings. It is hoped that the surveys will help inform pathologists how to stream-line reports to increase the efficiency and speed of pathology services, and in turn help improve patient care.

Ethical Approval: The project has been reviewed and approved by the Oxford University Medical Sciences Division Research Ethics Committee (CUREC / MS IDREC): sugeon/oncologist survey application number R74574/RE001, (approved 16th March 2021) and the pathologist survey application number R77044/RE001 (approved 20th August 2021).

Participation: Participation in the survey is by invitation only. If you have been invited to participate and would like to preview or re-review the background and consent information (including if you would like to withdraw your participation) please see the text set out below. The survey will be live this shortly. 

Research Team:

Richard Colling (Lead)

Lisa Browning

Clare Verrill

Annette Pluddemann

Carl Heneghan

Survey: The following text is presented at the start of the survey:

General Information 

You may ask any questions before deciding to take part by contacting the researcher (details below). The Researcher is Richard Colling, who is attached to the Nuffield Department of Surgical Sciences at the University of Oxford. This project is being completed under the supervision of Prof Carl Heneghan and Dr Annette Pluddemann (Principal Investigator).

Do I have to take part? No. Please note that participation is voluntary. Please read through this information before agreeing to participate (if you wish to) by ticking the ‘yes’ box below. If you do decide to take part, you may withdraw at any point for any reason before finishing the survey (including now) by closing the browser and the responses will not be recorded. If you have finished and the answers are submitted along with an email address, you may withdraw at any time by contacting the investigators (details below) and your data will be deleted. If you have not provided an email address your answers once submitted will be anonymous but unfortunately cannot be deleted.

All questions are required however for most we have included a ‘Don’t know’ option for each set of questions should you prefer not to answer a particular question. The first few questions are about your current job role and an answer must be given to identify if you meet the study inclusion criteria, however no identifiable personal data about you is collected at that point.

How will my data be used? The only personal data that will be collected in this survey will be an email address if you wish to provide this. You do not have to provide an email address to complete the survey. The responses you provide will be securely stored online and in a password-protected electronic file and may be anonymously used in academic publications. Your answers will be linked to your email address, if you choose to provide one. Research data (including answers, email addresses, and linked consent records) will be stored for three years after publication or public release.

The contact details we will collect will be linked to your answers. Your contact details could identify you. You do not have to enter any contact details if you do not want to and if you do not the answers you provide will be completely anonymous. If you do leave your contact details and wish to withdraw all your responses (or would just like the contact details deleted) then this will be possible by contacting the investigator (details below).

Your IP address will not be stored.  We will take all reasonable measures to ensure that data remain confidential. Your emailed address if provided (and any link to your responses) will not be made publicly available.

Who will have access to my data? The Online Survey Provider Jisc is collecting data ( Contact details (outlined above) will be stored by Jisc and available to the researchers. Jisc and the University of Oxford will be the data controllers with respect to your personal data (email address) and, as such, will determine how your personal data is used.  Please see the privacy notices here:


This survey will be written up for an DPhil (PhD) degree.

Who has reviewed this study? This project has been reviewed by, and received ethics clearance through, the University of Oxford University Medical Science Division Research Ethics Committee (see above).

Who do I contact if I have a concern or I wish to complain? If you have a concern about any aspect of this study, please speak to Richard Colling (01865 221243, or their supervisors Carl Heneghan ( & Annette Pluddemann ( and we will do our best to answer your query. We will acknowledge your concern within 10 working days and give you an indication of how it will be dealt with. If you remain unhappy or wish to make a formal complaint, please contact the Chair of the Research Ethics Committee at the University of Oxford who will seek to resolve the matter as soon as possible: Medical Sciences Interdivisional Research Ethics Committee; Email:; Address: Research Services, University of Oxford, Wellington Square, Oxford OX1 2JD