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Project reference number - 0004

Principal Investigator - Eva Morris, University of Oxford

Plain language summary - Colonoscopy is the main diagnostic test used to identify colorectal (or bowel) cancer and involves a thin tube with a camera on the end of it being inserted into the bowel to look for a tumour. Colonoscopy is used a lot by the National Health Service (NHS) with over 650,000 being undertaken each year but, unfortunately, the test is not perfect and sometimes a cancer, or a lesion that will turn into a cancer, that is in the bowel is not found. When this happens the cancer is known as a post-colonoscopy colorectal cancer (PCCRC) or a ‘missed’ cancer. Missing cancers is bad as the earlier they are identified the more treatable they are and the better the outcomes achieved. There is, however, limited information on which people are at higher risk of having their cancer missed or if certain hospitals in the NHS have higher PCCRC rates.

This study aims to update our previous work to find out if there are certain people more likely to have a missed cancer as well as to see if there are big differences between hospitals with some missing many more cancers than others. This research is needed to tackle these differences, reduce the number of missed cancers that occur and so improve bowel cancer outcomes.