This national programme will help specialists identify bowel cancer earlier, improve precision treatment and help patients live better for longer, wherever they live. As well as potentially improving outcomes for over 6,200 patients, it will also support local cancer services and could help save the NHS up to £34 million in the long term. (I)
Bowel cancer is the second most common cause of cancer death in the UK (II). The earlier bowel cancer is diagnosed and treated, the better the outcome for patients. Increased public awareness and improved screening have resulted in more patients being diagnosed at an earlier stage of their disease, but there is variability across the UK in the diagnosis and management of early stage cancer, with under- and over-treatment a significant global issue.
As part of the SPECC programme, six core members of all 164 Colorectal Cancer Multi-Disciplinary Teams (MDTs) in England and Wales will be invited to attend a one day workshop on the complex topic of treatment for small (T1) tumours and significant polyps. Hosted across England and Wales over 2015-2017, these workshops will bring together surgeons, radiologists, gastroenterologists, pathologists and clinical nurse specialists to look at the evidence, discuss methods for early diagnosis and treatment and develop informed decision-making for the whole bowel cancer team. Teams will be encouraged to develop their local treatment strategies as well as regional partnerships to help provide consistent treatment options across England and Wales.
The clinical lead for SPECC is Mr Brendan Moran (Surgeon at Basingstoke) with Sarah Crane at the Pelican Cancer Foundation. The eminent steering group includes Professors Wendy Atkin (Epidemiologist at Imperial), Brian Saunders (Gastroenterologist at St Marks), Gina Brown (Radiologist at Royal Marsden), Phil Quirke (Pathologist at Leeds) and Bob Steele (Surgeon at Dundee). Other leaders in the field, from hospitals around England and Wales, will help deliver the programme.
Pelican Cancer Foundation has an exceptional reputation for developing high-impact national and international meetings to improve patient care for cancer patients. Pelican developed and ran LOREC – a previous national programme to improve outcomes in patients with low rectal cancer through enhancing patient-centred decision-making for MDTs. This was attended by 1,200 cancer specialists. Its concepts and strategies influenced 90% of all English colorectal MDTs and had a global impact in the field. (III)
Commenting on the SPECC programme, Sarah Crane, CEO of Pelican Cancer Foundation, said “Our work is all about making a real difference for today’s cancer patients, both in terms of survival and quality of life. Successful roll-out of this new programme will see more consistent treatment options for bowel cancer patients wherever they live. We are very excited to be launching this vital programme and can’t wait to see the impact it will have on the daily practice of cancer specialists nation-wide. We want to thank everyone who has worked so tirelessly with us to make this programme happen.”
SPECC is endorsed by The Association of Coloproctology of Great Britain and Ireland, Beating Bowel Cancer, Bowel Cancer UK, Hampshire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, The Royal College of Pathologists and kindly supported by industry sponsors, including (from September 2015 to June 2016) Gold Sponsors Exact Sciences, manufacturer of the stool DNA test Cologuard.
For further information on the SPECC programme, go to www.pelicancancer.org/specc
For further information about the Pelican Cancer Foundation, go to www.pelicancancer.org
Twitter: @Pelican_Cancer #SPECCPOLYP
I. Saving lives, averting costs: An analysis of the financial implications of achieving earlier diagnosis of colorectal, lung and ovarian cancer – A report prepared for Cancer Research UK, Incisive Health, September 2014
II. Cancer Research UK, http://www.cancerresearchuk.org/health-professional/cancer-statistics/mortality/common-cancers-compared#heading-Zero, Accessed October 2015
III. Moran et al., The English National Low Rectal Cancer Development Programme: Key messages and future perspectives; Colorectal Disease, 2013, The Association of Coloproctology of Great Britain and Ireland 16, 173-178
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