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Project Reference Number – 0002

Principal Investigator – Dr Rebecca Birch

Funder - Cancer Research UK – C23434/A23706

Plain Language Summary:

Cystic fibrosis (CF) is an inherited genetic disease that damages the lungs, digestive system and other systems of the body.  The damage is caused by a fault in a gene that affects the movement of salt and water in and out of cells which can lead to a build-up of thick, sticky mucous.  This mucous can cause a wide range of symptoms in particular problems with breathing.  Previously, people with CF tended to die in childhood but, recently, treatments have improved and many are living much longer with more than half of those with the illness living to at least 47 years of age.  Increasing this so all people with CF can have a normal life expectancy is important so research is needed to work out how best to monitor these individuals for life threatening complications associated with the disease.

One such complication is bowel cancer. There is evidence from a small study in the USA that the risk of bowel cancer is increased in people with CF and, if this is true, then it is important to ensure that people with CF can be regularly reviewed so the cancer is caught early.  This study aims to find out, therefore, whether the risk of being diagnosed with colorectal cancer is greater in people with CF when compared to people without the disease.