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Project reference number - 0001

Principal investigators - Rebecca Birch and Nick Burr, University of Leeds

Plain language summary - Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) includes several conditions. The most common ones are ulcerative colitis (UC) and Crohn’s disease (CD).  UC causes inflammation and damage to the large bowel. CD causes inflammation and damage to the entire digestive tract. Both conditions cause significant problems for patients including increased bowel frequency, bloody diarrhoea, abdominal pain and weight loss. Both UC and CD are lifelong conditions and treatment is aimed at reducing flare ups of the disease and complications from long-term inflammation. The most serious potential complication of IBD is bowel cancer. 

Bowel surgery is probably the most important treatment option for severe inflammation. However, after surgery the remaining bowel is still at risk of developing cancer. This risk has not yet been properly investigated. The aim of this work is to understand whether there are any common features between the types of colorectal cancer that IBD patients are diagnosed with. The team will also investigate survival rates, the patient route through the healthcare system, and whether colonoscopies have any impact on a patient’s diagnosis. We shall be using existing NHS data.