Colorectal cancer summit

Read the latest Victorian Tumour Summits update - January 2016

Read the progress of recommendations agreed by the Colorectal Summit Working party following the summit held on 12th September 2014.  The recommendations were formulated from the summary of discussions on the day and presented to the Victorian Integrated Cancer Services (VICS) Network.

Summit report

More than 60 people from across the region gathered to review data and identify local and state wide priorities to improve outcomes for people with colorectal cancer.

Major themes for the day were:

  • Data – more data and more accurate data
  • Multidisciplinary meetings
  • Emergency presentations – are we missing early diagnoses?
  • Variation in treatment received
  • Early diagnosis and colonoscopies – more information about wait times, strategies to improve access to diagnostic colonoscopies
  • Screening – ways to improve the participation in the National Bowel Cancer Screening Project (NBCSP)

We asked the people who attended whether they thought it was a good event and we got a score of 8/10 with 98% of people saying that they would encourage a colleague to attend a future summit.

The next steps are important. Making sure that work continues in the identified priority areas is the role of the project Steering Committee.








July 2014 - Summit update

There are best-practice guidelines for treating people with colorectal cancer, but what is actually happening across Victoria? There is literature that tells us there is variation in treatment given to patients.

At the summit you will be able to review data providing a snapshot of clinical practice in treatment in Victoria with up-to-date information. As clinical experts in colorectal cancer, your input and response to these data are being sought.

  • Is there any variation in the stage at diagnosis across the state?
  • Is the National Bowel Cancer Screening program making a difference in the stage at which patients are diagnosed?
  • What percentage of bowel cancer patients are undergoing major surgery?
  • What percentage of rectal cancer patients are getting radiotherapy?
  • Are stage III colon cancer patients getting adjuvant chemotherapy?
  • Is there a variation in treatments given across the state?
  • Does the care being given always align with guidelines?

At the summit you will discuss data, suggest and prioritise improvement opportunities and identify the best metrics to use. Victoria’s Integrated Cancer Services and the CCV Clinical Network are collaborating to bring about a state-wide approach to improvements in outcomes for colorectal cancer patients.

The colorectal working party met again last week to review data for the summit coming up in September. The CRC summit will provide an opportunity to look at patient and health system information to see what is going on in colorectal cancer and its treatment across Victoria.

Does where a patient comes from affect their stage at presentation or their outcome?

The Victorian Cancer Registry data tells us that adjusted 5-year survival varies by up to 10% across Victoria. What are some of the things that may contribute to the differences?

The summit will provide opportunities to explore data on treatment given by stage of disease, system characteristics and patient characteristics. The patient characteristics we will be looking at will include:

  • The pattern of socio-economic status and other population characteristics
    •  how influential are the social determinants of health in shaping the variation in 5-year survival?
  • Bowel cancer screening - the participation rate and the proportion of positive results from the National Bowel Cancer Screening Program
  • Victorian Cancer Registry data on stage at diagnosis for colorectal patients
    •  is there a significant relationship between where a patient lives and their disease stage of disease at diagnosis?
    •  has bowel cancer screening had any impact stage at diagnosis over time?

This rich array of data will help us to see the patterns and variation in the patients seeking treatment.

Some information from the Victorian Cancer Registry*
  • In 5 years  there were 18,250 colorectal cancer reports
  • 37.4% of patients were stage 3 or4
  • 8.5% of patients had neo-adjuvant treatment before staging
*Based on Victorian incidence, 2008-2012
Socio-economic status (SEIFA) -  Australian Bureau of Statistics

June 2014 - Colorectal Cancer Summit

The colorectal cancer summit is a unique opportunity for clinicians involved in cancer treatment to look at what could be contributing to the reported variations in outcomes for patients.

Focus on the treatment component of cancer care

By focusing on the parts of the health care system that are in our sphere of influence, the colorectal summit can help to shape real change for patient outcomes. We are seeking the expertise and influence of clinicians involved in all diagnostic, research and treatment modalities for CRC.

New ways to look at the data

Routinely collected data sets now have the capacity to tell us some things about clinical practice, including what treatments are being used. Information has been drawn from the cancer registry and health service databases to paint a comprehensive picture of colorectal cancer care in Victoria. The working party of colorectal specialists has recommended an analysis of these data to allow us to obtain real and relevant data at a state-wide level.

We can also look at any variation in the population characteristics and where services are being provided. These data will give a state wide picture of clinical practice for CRC and how your practice compares with the patterns recorded in the data.

April 2014 - Save the date

Friday 12th September 9am to 1pm. RACS, Melbourne

A summit meeting is being planned for colorectal clinicians working across Victoria. Clinicians will be invited to attend the summit to help identify opportunities for continuing the improvement in survival outcomes that we have seen. 

This clinician-led summit is a forum for identifying the priorities for improvement and to agree on goals and measures for the next two years. The local colorectal multidisciplinary teams and Integrated Cancer Services will then support the work on improvements that arise from the summit.
The colorectal summit is the first of a series of tumour specific events. They involve the existing structures of the ICS local collaborating tumour groups and Cancer Council’s Clinical Network, who are working in collaboration for the first time at a state wide level.

Having access to appropriate and accurate data will be vital to the success of the colorectal summit. A working party of medical and radiation oncologists, surgeons and an allied health clinician has been established to develop a plan to analyse all the available data that informs us about colorectal cancer practice across the state. Expert data managers are helping to collate and validate various data sets to build a comprehensive a picture.

The working party had their first meeting in early April.  Issues discussed included:

  • Is there a relationship between mortality ratios and the socio-economic status of the patient?
  • Why is there a difference between the proportion of regional and metro patients being discussed by multidisciplinary teams?
  • Is there variation in the use of radiotherapy by region across Victoria?


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