Yorkshire is one of the regions hardest hit by cancer. More people in Yorkshire are likely to get cancer and more people are likely to die from cancer than almost anywhere else in England. With bowel cancer in particular, the way hospitals treat bowel cancer varies significantly across Yorkshire. Once the reasons for this have been identified, it will be possible to work with hospitals to improve treatment practices and ensure higher bowel cancer survival rates in Yorkshire.

Why is this work needed?

There is a wide variation in bowel cancer survival rates in Yorkshire and the region has fallen behind UK and European averages. While new cancer treatments are vital, ensuring everyone receives the same level of high-quality care is also hugely important. Currently, there is a 'postcode lottery' in terms of treatment for bowel cancer. Yorkshire Cancer Research believes that, regardless of where someone lives in Yorkshire, they should be able to access the very best treatment. This 10-year study is designed to understand where differences in treatment occur, which treatments give the best results and how they can be delivered across the region.

What is happening?

The research began in 2016 and is currently funded until 2025. This research will draw together routinely collected NHS data and patient-reported data to understand how different bowel cancer patients across Yorkshire have been cared for. Having learned more about the current situation, the researchers then plan to ensure that hospitals in Yorkshire are able to learn from each other and all work to adopt the most successful ways of working.

What will the benefits be?

The ambition of the research is to improve bowel cancer treatment and care across the region so that it does not matter where a patient lives or where they are treated. Ultimately, by improving outcomes, this study could save as many as 300 lives each year.

What type of data is involved?

The research involves routinely collected Hospital Episode Statistics (HES) data from workstreams such as surgery, oncology, radiology, pathology etc., along with patients self-reporting on their quality of life from diagnosis onwards.

All data will be de-personalised in the Leeds institute of Data Analytics before being used by the researchers. All data will be handled under appropriate legislation, security levels and stored under secure conditions. Patients are asked to give their consent to participate and to provide their self-reported outcomes.

Who is funding and collaborating on this work?

This research is being carried out at the University of Leeds and funded by Yorkshire Cancer Research.

Where can I go for more information?


Yorkshire Cancer Research: Bowel Cancer Improvement Programme

University of Leeds: Yorkshire Cancer Research Bowel Cancer Improvement Programme