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Differences in staging and treatment likely to be behind UK's low bowel cancer survival
Date:4/16/2013

Incomplete diagnostic investigation and failure to get the best treatment are the most likely reasons why survival for bowel cancer patients is lower in the UK than in other comparable countries, according to new research published in the journal Acta Oncologica.

The research, led by the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, was carried out in Australia, Canada, Denmark, Norway, Sweden and the UK for the International Cancer Benchmarking Partnership (ICBP). The study included more than 310,000 bowel cancer patients diagnosed during 2000-07.

Bowel cancer is sometimes called colorectal cancer, which includes cancers of the colon and rectum. This study examined both types of bowel cancer.

The researchers examined how far the patients' cancer had spread at the time of diagnosis from very early (localised, stage A) to very late (spread to other parts of the body, stage D). They also examined the proportion of patients at each stage of disease who survived for one year and three years after diagnosis, after correction for the impact of other causes of death.

Two-thirds (67%) of colon cancer patients in the UK survived for at least one year, compared with 80% in Sweden. Three-quarters (75%) of rectal cancer patients in the UK survived for one year or more, compared with 84% in Sweden.

Low overall survival in a particular country can arise either because the patients there tend to be diagnosed at a later stage of disease than in other countries, or because survival at each stage of disease is lower than in other countries.

The proportion of colon cancer patients diagnosed at the earliest stage (stage A) was lowest in the UK - only 8% compared with 11-17% elsewhere. But UK patients were also less likely to be diagnosed at the most advanced stage (20% at stage D, compared with 24-31% elsewhere).

For both colon and rectal cancer, survival among UK patients diagnosed at the earliest stage of d
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Contact: Katie Steels
press@lshtm.ac.uk
44-020-792-92802
London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine
Source:Eurekalert

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