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Project reference number - 0060

Principal Investigator - Rebecca Birch, University of Leeds

Plain language summary - Around 43,000 people a year are diagnosed with bowel cancer in the UK. It is second only to lung cancer in cancer-related deaths. The average age of patients diagnosed with bowel cancer is over 70, but it is also a disease found in younger people. The number of patients diagnosed is higher in more deprived people and deprivation is also linked to lower long-term survival. Deprivation is not having the things that people consider to be essential in life, for example acceptable living conditions or education.

This study will focus on how the treatment received by bowel cancer patients in the English NHS is different based on how deprived an area they live in.

Research has shown that in Scotland, bowel cancer patients in the most deprived areas were less likely to receive some treatments. These included chemotherapy for stage 4 disease, and radiotherapy. Those in the most affluent areas (areas of people with higher incomes) were more likely to receive surgical treatment. In England from 2002 to 2012 less deprived patients were more likely to receive newer techniques such as laparoscopic (also known as keyhole) surgery.

This study will look at how the use of surgery varies by deprivation across the English NHS. It will focus on use of surgery, use of laparoscopy, stoma formation, stoma reversal and how many patients need to undergo further surgical treatment after their initial surgery.