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Post Colonoscopy Colorectal Cancer Audit Project (PCCRC)

3D graphical representation of colon cancer

Colonoscopy is the main diagnostic test for bowel cancer but, unfortunately, the test is not perfect and sometimes a cancer, or a lesion that will turn into a cancer is not found or removed completely.  When such a cancer occurs, it is labelled a post-colonoscopy colorectal cancer (PCCRC). Missing cancers is bad as the earlier they are identified the more treatable they are and the better the outcomes achieved.

Our research has shown that in England there are an unacceptably high number of PCCRCs. This project, funded by Bowel Cancer UK, aims to generate the evidence we need to reduce their occurrence and so help improve bowel cancer outcomes.

The project uses NHS datasets to find any PCCRCs that occur in England.  For each case found, the hospital in which the colonoscopy happened is asked to do a ‘root cause analysis’ so we can understand why the cancer wasn’t found. We will then combine and analyse this information to produce evidence to help build interventions that will reduce the number of PCCRCs that occur. 

The project began in April 2020. We have built and successfully piloted the web-based audit tool and at the end of September 2021 we began rolling out the system across the English NHS. Follow progress on this website and on Twitter.