[ASC-media] BioGrid Australia links data to show bowel cancer screening is making impact on patient survival rate

MediaWise mediawise at mediawise.net.au
Mon Jul 9 01:48:06 CEST 2012

9 July 2012

BioGrid Australia links data to show bowel cancer screening is making impact
on patient survival rate
Victorian researchers have been able to confirm that the national bowel
cancer screening program is making a major impact on patient survival.
Using data made available through BioGrid Australia, the researchers have
shown that patients diagnosed as a result of a positive screening test have
a much higher survival rate than patients presenting with symptoms.
Maureen Turner, CEO of BioGrid Australia, said today that recent analysis
from six Victorian hospitals has shown an increased number of early stage
cancers diagnosed via the bowel screening programs (43% versus 19%) and a
reduced number of patients with advanced cancer (4% versus 18%),² she said.
³This research is further confirmation of the value of the national bowel
cancer screening program and the valuable contribution that BioGrid
Australia, an innovative medical research platform, is making to furthering
our understanding of cancers and other diseases,² she said.
Dr Peter Gibbs and colleagues analysed diagnosis and survival information
for 103 patients (all of whom had no symptoms of cancer) diagnosed as the
result of a positive stool screening test on the national program.
The patients attended six hospitals in Melbourne: Royal Melbourne, Royal
Melbourne Private, Western Hospital, Western Private, Box Hill and Epworth
These patients were diagnosed between May 2006 and 2012 and their results
were compared to 793 patients of the same age presenting with symptoms over
the same timeframe.
³This analysis confirms that patients with a bowel cancer detected by a
screening test, long before any symptoms have appeared, have a much improved
outcome, with a projected five year survival of 95% compared to 73% for
patients of the same age who were diagnosed with symptoms² said Dr Gibbs.
³This research yet again emphasises the ongoing need for and value of
Australia¹s national bowel screening program which is leading to better
survival rates as a direct result of earlier diagnosis.²
Data available through BioGrid Australia was previously used in a campaign
to extend the Australian National Bowel Cancer Screening Program to 60 and
70 year olds, by demonstrating the potential savings of early bowel cancer
The research released in 2010 showed that annual bowel cancer treatment
costs was likely to increase four-fold to $1 billion over 10 years by 2011,
strengthening the economic case for expanding the Government¹s National
Bowel Cancer Screening Program.
The study by Victorian researchers supported by BioGrid Australia combined
Australian screening data with treatment costs and survival rates, providing
new evidence of the program¹s economic and social benefits. The researchers
determined the cost of treating any one patient with bowel cancer at about
$55,000 a patient. 
Due to the cost of expensive new therapies treating stage 3 (more advanced)
cancers tripled from $25,000 in 1999 to $75,000 and for stage 4 (most
advanced), the cost has significantly escalated 10 fold from $6,000 to
By screening leading to the detection of early stage cancers which can be
dealt with by surgery alone, the substantial cost of treating later stage
cancers, including the use of expensive chemotherapy drugs, are avoided. The
data available through BioGrid was able to show the cost effectiveness of
The free National Bowel Cancer Screening Program was introduced in 2006. In
the 2012 ­ 2013 Federal Budget, the program was expanded to include
Australians turning 60 years of age from 2013 and those turning 70 years of
age from 2015. 

The expansion of the screening program means that an estimated 1,000 early
cancers will be detected each year and between 300 and 500 lives saved
annually. This will significantly reduce the burden of bowel cancer on
Australians and their families.

Bowel cancer is the second most commonly diagnosed cancer in Australia, with
annually more than 13,000 cases and 4,100 deaths from this disease.
BioGrid Australia
BioGrid Australia (www.biogrid.org.au <http://www.biogrid.org.au> ) is an
innovative medical research platform that facilitates privacy-protected
research across many hospitals and medical research institutes. BioGrid
provides an online Access Request System by which researchers can apply for
access to specific databases.  Through this system, the data custodians
approve access to their data and a Scientific Expert Review Committee
assesses the proposed investigation providing formal ethics approval. Once
authorised, researchers can access de-identified data for specified
Media inquiries: Penny Underwood, MediaWise, on 03 9818 8540.
Issued on behalf of BioGrid Australia.

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