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Case study: Caron was so inspired by her research experience she became a Research Champion

Our research champions’ stories

Caron took part in the BEST3 Study in York, which looked into whether using a cytosponge test (a sophisticated sponge with a string attached) could effectively test for the presence of Barrett’s Esophagus disease. The BEST3 study could have wider implications in diagnosing esophageal cancer early, increasing esophageal cancer survival rates. After taking part in the study, Caron became interested in research and became a Research Champion to encourage others to take part in studies too.


“I was approached by my GP surgery to take part in the BEST3 study because I was being prescribed medication for acid reflux".


“I was not aware that Barrett’s Esophagus could be caused by long-term acid-reflux and esophageal cancer is quite hard to detect. So, I thought the BEST3 study could be highly important in future treatment and diagnosis of esophageal cancer". 


The BEST3 study’s Cytosponge test involved swallowing a small sponge, which scrapes cells from the oesophagus to test for the presence of Barrett's Esophagus. The condition is often diagnosed by conducting an endoscopy, however this process has some risks, and can often be uncomfortable for the patient. Researchers hope that the Cytosponge could be a new and effective way of diagnosing the condition.


“I was very impressed with the care I received throughout my research experience. The test administrator described how the science behind the test worked, and they sought to see if I truly understood the procedure while the Cytosponge test caused me a little discomfort, the process of swallowing the sponge was well explained with consideration for how it would feel and how to make it easier too”!


Caron enjoyed the process of finding out more about research studies, and afterwards spoke to the research team about how to get involved further. She was put in touch with the local lead for Patient and Public Involvement and Engagement (PPIE) and became a Research Champion for the Clinical Research Network in Yorkshire and Humber.


“I wanted to become a Research Champion because I was impressed with the experience I had had myself of taking part in research and curious to become more involved as a result. Being a Research Champion helps me to explain to others the importance of research, the need for more people to be involved, and how they can get involved. 


“If you are considering becoming a participant in research, just do it. Every little helps!”


If you would like to take part in a study, visit the Be Part of Research website. If you are interested in becoming a Research Champion contact our Patient Public and Carer Involvement and Engagement team: