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Genomics in the NHS: A Clinician's Guide to Genomic Testing for Cancer (Solid Tumours)

Elevate your clinical career by developing your understanding of cancer genomic testing and how to support tests in the NHS.

A doctor wearing a green jumper and stethoscope in conversation with a patient

Genomics in the NHS: A Clinician's Guide to Genomic Testing for Cancer (Solid Tumours)

  • 2 weeks

  • 3 hours per week

  • Digital certificate when eligible

  • Intermediate level

Find out more about how to join this course

  • Duration

    2 weeks
  • Weekly study

    3 hours
  • 100% online

    How it works
  • Unlimited subscription

    $244.99 for one yearLearn more

Learn how to use genomic tests to improve care for your cancer patients

The wide-scale availability of genomic sequencing in the NHS brings many possibilities for patients but means new concepts, systems, and processes for clinicians.

On this two-week course from NHS England, you’ll develop an understanding of the different types of genomic testing for solid tumours – from single gene tests to whole genome sequencing – and walk through the application of this testing in clinical practice.

Through interactive media, expert interviews, patient perspectives, and more, you’ll be guided through the cancer pathway to help you become confident in working with genomic tests.

Learn how to access the National Genomic Test Directory

You’ll start by exploring the UK’s cancer landscape to help you gain diverse insights from both patients and healthcare professionals.

You’ll also cover the multitude of test types available within the NHS and learn how to access them through the National Genomic Test Directory.

Explore the scope of genomic tests on offer

Next, you’ll look in more detail at the solid tumour pathway, including choosing the right test for the right patient at the right time as well as the process of ordering tests and acting on results.

Improve your cancer treatment with Health Education England

The course has been designed by expert clinicians and members of the NHS Genomics Education Programme.

Armed with their specialist knowledge, you’ll finish the course with the confidence to interpret and act on genomic test reports.

Free upgrade for UK NHS staff

A free upgrade for this course is available for participants employed by the NHS or affiliated organisations. You can register for this upgrade here, or see the eligibility criteria here.


  • Week 1

    Introducing genomic testing in cancer and what it means for you

    • Welcome to the course and what to expect

      Get acquainted with the practicalities of the course, meet the team and download the course glossary.

    • Starting the story

      Every genomics story begins with a person. Let's start our learning journey and hear from real people who have undergone genomic testing for cancer.

    • The shifting healthcare landscape

      Genomics hasn't always moved this fast in healthcare. We go back to the very beginning and learn about how genomic technologies have developed, and the challenges we still face today.

    • Cancer and genomic testing

      How do we use genomics to help treat cancer and which tests are involved? Let's explore the basics.

    • Creating a national genomic medicine service

      With genomics advancing at such a rapid pace, the need to accommodate it has grown. In this activity, we introduce the framework and the tools available to support healthcare professionals working in the NHS.

    • Wrapping up Week 1

      We bring Week 1 of the course to a close and discuss what we have learned over the past seven days.

  • Week 2

    Working through the solid tumour pathway

    • Introducing the testing pathway

      We introduce Week 2 of the course and provide an overview of the genomic testing pathway for solid tumours in the UK.

    • Right test, right patient

      As we set out along the solid tumour pathway, we need to think about when to consider genomic testing and decide which tests would be suitable.

    • The practicalities: Forms and samples

      In this activity, we will explore best practice in the practicalities of testing, including filling in forms, what samples to take and where to send them.

    • Making sense of the data

      Interpreting the data from genomic testing is a job undertaken by teams of trained professionals. It's unlikely that many of us will need to take a leading role, but we explore some of the basics in this activity.

    • Receiving and interpreting results

      What does a test report look like, and how should it be interpreted? We explore reports for somatic cancer tests and whole genome sequencing in this activity.

    • Actioning results: The impact for the patient and family

      In this activity, we explore the ways in which actioning genomic test results – and the consequential treatment decisions – can make a life-changing difference for patients.

    • Looking to the future

      What does the future look like for the genomics pathway for solid tumours? We bring back our experts to get their perspective on where we are heading.

    • Wrapping up the course

      With the course complete, we take some time to reflect on what you have learned in this final activity.

When would you like to start?

Start straight away and join a global classroom of learners. If the course hasn’t started yet you’ll see the future date listed below.

  • Available now

Learning on this course

On every step of the course you can meet other learners, share your ideas and join in with active discussions in the comments.

What will you achieve?

By the end of the course, you‘ll be able to...

  • Evaluate the changing healthcare landscape in terms of the infrastructure surrounding, and democratisation of, genomic testing.
  • Identify when genomic investigations may benefit your patients.
  • Explain the scope of genomic tests on offer in the NHS Genomic Medicine Service, including when key tests may be used.
  • Navigate the National Genomic Test Directory and NHS GMS Signed Off Panels Resource to apply the most relevant genomic test(s) to your clinical case.
  • Identify and order the relevant genomic test(s) for your patient(s), using the correct forms and providing the correct samples.
  • Confidently interpret and act on genomic test reports you may receive from the laboratory, considering action for the whole family as well as the individual patient.

Who is the course for?

This course is designed for clinicians involved in ordering genomic tests in the NHS, specifically relating to cancer.

It is especially beneficial for professionals who are less confident or familiar with the process.

Who will you learn with?

I am a Medical Oncology registrar with an interest in Cancer Genetics. I am keen to work on educational initiatives to improve the understanding of Genomics within the Cancer MDT.

I work as an Education Development Lead within the National Genomics Education team, NHS England. By background I am a doctor, specialised in clinical genetics.

I am clinical director/head of HEE's Genomic Education Programme and a consultant in clinical genetics/professor in clinical genetics and genomic education at St George's Hospital/University

I am a project editor in the Genomics Education Programme, specialising in multimedia, layout and graphic design for educational courses.

Who developed the course?

Health Education England

Health Education England (HEE) support the delivery of excellent healthcare and health improvements to the patients and public of England.

St George's, University of London

St George’s is the UK’s only university dedicated to medical and health sciences education, training and research.

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Ways to learn

Choose the best way to learn for you!

Subscribe & save

$244.99 for one year

Automatically renews

Develop skills to further your career

  • Access to this course
  • Access to 1,000+ courses
  • Learn at your own pace
  • Discuss your learning in comments
  • Digital certificate when you're eligible

Cancel for free anytime

Buy this course

$99/one-off payment

Fulfill your current learning need

  • Access to this course
  • Learn at your own pace
  • Discuss your learning in comments
  • Printed and digital certificate when you’re eligible

Limited access


Sample the course materials

  • Access expires 10 Oct 2023

Find out more about certificates, Unlimited or buying a course (Upgrades)

Sale price available until 31 October 2023 at 23:59 (UTC). T&Cs apply.

Find out more about certificates, Unlimited or buying a course (Upgrades)

Sale price available until 31 October 2023 at 23:59 (UTC). T&Cs apply.

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