Introduction The UK Cancer Reform Strategy in 2007 recommended The NHS Bowel Screening Programme be extended to incorporate those up to 75 years, on a background of screened 60–69 year olds. Flexible sigmoidoscopy to those aged 55 years is now being rolled out, with a view to extending this screening throughout the UK by 2016. It is postulated that as the screening programme develops, fewer patients will present as symptomatic cancers as acute admissions or referrals.
Method Our institution is a renowned colorectal hospital, with a large tertiary referral base. A retrospective analysis of all cases of colorectal malignancy since the advent of screening in 2008 was collated through an established patient database. Patient age, mode of presentation and tumour status at time of diagnosis were evaluated, along with post-operative histology. The data was grouped per age and into bi-annual groups: 2008–2009, 2010–2011, 2012–2013.
Results There were 487 patients who had a diagnosis of colorectal malignancy inclusive of tertiary referrals and were aged >60 years. From these patients, 395 arose from referrals and acute admissions and 92 arose directly via the screening programme. There were no statistical differences in age, gender or Dukes Stage between each group either overall or between each bi-annual group. However, it is evident that in each sequential bi-annual year the proportion of patients diagnosed through screening rises; 17%, 18% and 22%.
Conclusion Our results failed to demonstrate that following the introduction of the screening programme there was a reduction in patients presenting as emergencies or through the outpatient clinic with symptoms from their colorectal malignancy. However, it did demonstrate that the proportion of patients diagnosed through screening is progressively rising.
Disclosure of interest None Declared.
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