‘Gastrointestinal cancer’ is a term used to describe the group of cancers that affect the digestive system, the most common of which is bowel cancer. With a focus on the two highest burden cancers – bowel and liver – the Pathways–Gastrointestinal Group is working on a multi-stage program to address gastrointestinal cancer control challenges in Australia. Their current areas of work include:
Optimising the National Bowel Cancer Screening Program
Using the predictive modelling platform, Policy1–Bowel, the team is performing modelled evaluations of the National Bowel Cancer Screening Program to help guide investment, and support uptake of the program across Australia and to help inform strategies for targeting vulnerable groups. The team is also performing cost-effectiveness evaluations of different approaches to boost participation in the bowel screening program, including mass media campaigns.
Exploring primary prevention and risk factors
The team is evaluating areas of priority for bowel cancer prevention and control such as modifiable exposures and risk factors, including smoking, body fatness and daily aspirin intake. The evidence will help inform clinical practice guidelines.
Understanding the cost of bowel cancer
Bowel cancer costs the Australian healthcare system more than any other cancer, accounting for around one sixth of total cancer-related costs, but little is understood about the financial impact for patients. Using data from the longitudinal 45 and Up Study, the team is investigating the detailed direct costs and out of pocket costs of bowel cancer patients.
Improving liver cancer outcomes
The team is developing a roadmap for improving liver cancer outcomes by exploring systematic approaches to identifying and treating populations at high risk.
“We know that 83,800 lives could be saved by 2040 if we could increase participation in bowel screening to 60% so it’s vital we focus on increasing participation in the program.”