Bowel cancer is the third most common type of cancer in England, with 4,668 cases diagnosed in Yorkshire in 2010. The rate of diagnosis of bowel cancer has been rising across the Yorkshire and Humber region and deaths from the disease have been falling due to a better understanding of the disease through research.

In an initiative to help to improve bowel cancer care, researchers funded by Yorkshire Cancer Research are linking routine NHS datasets (such as Hospital Episode Statistics, cancer registrations, screening, radiotherapy and chemotherapy), patient reported outcomes and diagnostic outcomes of bowel cancer patients across Yorkshire to assess the quality of hospital services and bowel cancer outcomes across the region.

This information will be used by a team of healthcare professionals caring for bowel cancer patients to identify areas of care that require improvement and to start education initiatives to advance patient care. The programme aims to achieve a 10-15% improvement in patient outcomes, preventing around 120 to 150 deaths from bowel cancer each year. National roll-out could lead to even greater improvements in bowel cancer survival.

Access to a wide range of health information and outcomes allows us to identify excellent and poor practice, design educational initiatives and improve overall care for bowel cancer patients. This saves lives and prevents unnecessary suffering. Researcher Perspective