Bowel cancer deaths drop by a third in 20 years

The rate of people dying from bowel cancer in the UK has plummeted by more than 30 per cent in the last 20 years | Cancer Research UK 

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Image source: CRUK 

Bowel cancer was responsible for 38 deaths per 100,000 people in 1995, falling to 26 deaths per 100,000 people by 2015. The drop in rates, taking into account changing population figures, equates to a decrease in bowel cancer deaths from 17,600 in 1995 to 15,800 in 2015.

Experts believe better treatment lies behind the dramatic drop in deaths. Improved public awareness among both patients and doctors, the bowel screening programme, may also be playing a part.

Read the full blog post here

Reducing the socioeconomic gradient in uptake of the NHS bowel cancer screening Programme

The aim of this study was to determine whether a supplementary leaflet providing the ‘gist’ of guaiac-based Faecal Occult Blood test (gFOBt) screening for colorectal cancer could reduce the socioeconomic status (SES) gradient in uptake in the English NHS BCSP | BMC Cancer

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The trial was integrated within routine BCSP operations in November 2012. Using a cluster randomised controlled design all adults aged 59–74 years who were being routinely invited to complete the gFOBt were randomised based on day of invitation. The Index of Multiple Deprivation was used to create SES quintiles. The control group received the standard information booklet (‘SI’). The intervention group received the SI booklet and the Gist leaflet (‘SI + Gist’) which had been designed to help people with lower literacy engage with the invitation. Blinding of hubs was not possible and invited subjects were not made aware of a comparator condition. The primary outcome was the gradient in uptake across IMD quintiles.

In November 2012, 163,525 individuals were allocated to either the ‘SI’ intervention (n = 79,104) or the ‘SI + Gist’ group (n = 84,421). Overall uptake was similar between the intervention and control groups (SI: 57.3% and SI + Gist: 57.6%; OR = 1.02, 95% CI: 0.92–1.13, p = 0.77). Uptake was 42.0% (SI) vs. 43.0% (SI + Gist) in the most deprived quintile and 65.6% vs. 65.8% in the least deprived quintile (interaction p = 0.48). The SES gradient in uptake was similar between the study groups within age, gender, hub and screening round sub-groups.

Providing supplementary simplified information in addition to the standard information booklet did not reduce the SES gradient in uptake in the NHS BCSP. The effectiveness of the Gist leaflet when used alone should be explored in future research.

Full reference: Smith, S.G. et al. (2017) Reducing the socioeconomic gradient in uptake of the NHS bowel cancer screening Programme using a simplified supplementary information leaflet: a cluster-randomised trial. BMC Cancer. 17:543

Discovery in fight against bowel cancer

New research has discovered how a genomic approach to understanding bowel (colorectal) cancer could improve the prognosis and quality of life for patients.

Bowel cancer is the fourth most common cancer in the UK, with 41,200 people newly diagnosed each year. A number of treatment options are available but mortality rates remain high, with bowel cancer the second most common cause of cancer death in the UK.

Researchers at Queen’s University Belfast, in collaboration with the University of Oxford and the University of Leeds have made a significant advance in the treatment of bowel cancer. The study, which has been published in the journal Nature Communications, has shown how defining precise gene signatures within bowel cancer cells can allow us to develop novel prognostic and predictive markers for bowel cancer and help to drive personalised medicine approaches.

Full story via ScienceDaily

Link to the research:  Dunne, P.D. et al. Cancer-cell intrinsic gene expression signatures overcome intratumoural heterogeneity bias in colorectal cancer patient classification. Nature Communications, 2017

Bowel cancer screening: benefits and risks

This leaflet explains the benefits and risks of bowel cancer screening in English, large print, 20 other languages and mp3 audio format | PHE

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Image source: PHE

Bowel cancer screening, the facts (Bengali)

Bowel cancer screening, the facts (Chinese)

NICE: All patients with colorectal cancer should be tested for genetic condition

Everyone who has colorectal cancer diagnosed should be tested for an inherited genetic condition called Lynch syndrome, new guidance states | BMJ

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The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) recommends microsatellite instability testing or immunohistochemistry to detect abnormalities that may indicate the syndrome.

Lynch syndrome, the most common cause of hereditary bowel cancer, has also been linked to an increased risk of developing other cancers including womb, ovarian, and stomach. People with the condition who develop colorectal cancer generally do so at a younger age, usually 40-50.

Testing for the condition helps to identify whether the patient’s family are also at increased risk of cancer so that they can be monitored more closely if needed, says NICE. Where these tests show that a person has a risk of the syndrome, the guidance recommends further tests to confirm the diagnosis. Because it is an inherited condition, a positive test can also lead to testing of family members.

Diagnosing Lynch syndrome may also help with the choice of treatment for colorectal cancer—for example, to direct chemotherapy or surgery.

Read the full overview here

Read the full guidance recommendations here

Simpler bowel cancer test kit a ‘game changer’

Hundreds of thousands more people across England are likely to take up the offer of bowel cancer screening thanks to the introduction of a new and simpler home-testing kit, Public Health Minister Jane Ellison has announced.

It has been estimated that the new test will increase screening uptake by around 10% – meaning an additional 200,000 people could be tested each year. This means that hundreds of lives could be potentially saved, the Department of Health said.

Read more at Cancer Research UK

 

 

 

 

 

 

National Bowel Cancer Audit report 2015

The National Bowel Cancer Audit Report 2015 has been published by the Royal College of Surgeons in partnership with the Association of Coloproctology of Great Britain and Ireland.  The report shows that the number of people surviving bowel cancer following major surgery has increased significantly in recent years.  The results presented in this report are based upon patients diagnosed with bowel cancer between 1 April 2013 and 31 March 2014.