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  • 1 October 2015 to 30 September 2016
  • Project No: 249
  • Funding round: FR 9

Bowel cancer is one of the most common causes of cancer-related death in Europe and the United States.  Finding the disease earlier makes it easier to treat and improves outcomes, so many countries, including the UK, have screening programmes to try and pick up people with early signs of cancer.  These are effective but at the moment people are invited to screening solely on the basis of their age.  Being able to group people depending on their risk of developing bowel cancer may help to improve the effectiveness of this screening by changing the age at which people are invited, the type of screening test they are offered, the time between screening tests, and potentially the offer of medications to reduce risk.

We have recently looked through published research and found 52 ways of calculating a persons’ risk of developing bowel cancer.  Many of these look as if they are quite good at identifying people at higher risk but only one was developed in the UK and none have been tested in a UK population.

In this research we will use data from the UK Biobank study to test how well these existing models are able to identify people in the UK who go on to develop bowel cancer.  The UK Biobank includes over half a million people who had an initial assessment in 2006-2010 and agreed to be followed up for many years through routine medical and other health-related records.  Since the study began, 1163 of these people have developed bowel cancer.  Using the information they all gave when they joined the study, we will test how good a selection of the existing risk scores are at identifying those who have developed bowel cancer.  This will help inform future screening programmes in the UK.

Amount awarded: £22,254

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Evidence synthesis working group

The collaboration will be conducting 18 high impact systematic reviews, under four workstreams.

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