The National COVID Cancer Survey is measuring COVID antibody levels in people with cancer to find out more about how people with cancer respond to vaccination and what level of antibodies is enough to provide protection against COVID-19.
You can sign up to take part if you live in England and you’ve either been diagnosed with cancer in the past year, or you are being treated for cancer. This includes people on maintenance therapy.
If you are eligible, you can sign up online – it only takes a few minutes. After you sign up, you are taken through to the NHS Test and Trace website to order an antibody testing kit free of charge. You might be asked if you have had one or two doses of COVID vaccine. You can take part however many doses you have had, including if you've had a third primary dose or a booster dose. There is no option at present to select that you've had three doses but you can still go ahead and order a test.
People who take part get an antibody testing kit in the post. It includes everything you need to take a sample of 8 to 10 drops of blood using a fingerprick tool. You send your sample back to a lab to be tested.
The test looks for both ‘N’ antibodies (that you develop after having coronavirus infection) and ‘S’ antibodies (that you develop after either infection or vaccination). You get your results back from NHS Test and Trace via text or email – a simple ‘positive’ or ‘negative’ result. You don’t need to do anything else.
As well as measuring your antibody levels, the survey will use information from NHS databases to monitor the outcomes of people with different antibody levels (COVID infections, hospital admissions, severe illness and so on). This will help find out what level of antibodies is enough to provide protection against COVID-19. The aim is to help doctors understand more about antibody responses to COVID-19 infection and vaccination, so they can advise people with cancer on their individual level of risk and what precautions they might need to take.
Published: 20 September 2021