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Colorectal cancer is the 4th most common cancer in the UK, accounting for 11% of all new cancer cases. Because the symptoms of colorectal cancer are often vague and frequently related to benign conditions, colorectal cancer is often diagnosed at a late cancer stage, leading to less curative options.
We have conducted a number of studies aiming to improve the early detection and diagnosis of colorectal cancer presenting with symptoms in primary care:
- Van Melle M, IS Yep Manzano S, Wilson H, Hamilton W, Walter FM, Bailey SER. Faecal immunochemical test to triage patients with abdominal symptoms for suspected colorectal cancer in primary care: review of international use and guidelines. Family Practice. 2020. doi:10.1093/fampra/cmaa043
- Rubin G, Walter FM, Emery J, de Wit N. Reimagining the diagnostic pathway for gastrointestinal cancer. Nature Reviews Gastroenterology & Hepatology. 2018. doi:10.1038/nrgastro.2018.1
- Walter FM, Emery JD, Mendonca S, Hall N, Morris HC, Mills K, Dobson C, Bankhead C, Johnson M, Abel G, Rutter M, Hamilton W, Rubin GP. Symptoms and patient factors associated with longer time to diagnosis for colorectal cancer: results from a prospective cohort study. British Journal of Cancer. 2016. doi:10.1038/bjc.2016.221
- Hall N, Birt L, Banks J, Emery J, Mills K, Johnson M, Rubin GP, Hamilton W, Walter FM. Symptom appraisal and healthcare-seeking for symptoms suggestive of colorectal cancer: a qualitative study. BMJ Open. 2015;. doi:10.1136/bmjopen-2015-008448
From Autumn 2019, faecal immunochemical tests (FITs) for use in primary care for patients whose symptoms suggest possible colorectal cancer, but do not represent a great enough risk of cancer for an urgent referral, have been rolled out in the East of England. FITs measure the amount of haemoglobin in a stool sample and can be used to identify possible colorectal cancer. Our FIT-East mixed methods pragmatic cohort study aims to determine this diagnostic accuracy and acceptability in these symptomatic primary care patients. It will also identify whether thresholds should differ between subgroups and assess the acceptability for primary care physicians and patients.
For more information please contact: Fiona Walter