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Report on consensus conference on colorectal cancer: Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh 1993

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Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)22-31
Number of pages10
JournalHealth bulletin
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1996


Colorectal cancer is the second commonest cause of death from cancer in Scotland. Recent developments in molecular biology, pre-symptomatic diagnosis, surgery and adjuvant treatment suggest that a substantial reduction in mortality is achievable. Some fear that major changes to the organisation of the NHS could undermine future attempts to coordinate major cancer screening studies or multicentre adjuvant trials. In contrast, others argue that a sharp focus on cost and benefits could encourage the development of clear guidelines based on a consensus of good practice. Thus, the time seems right for a consensus conference and this article summarises the outcome of such a recent conference held in Scotland. A group of 80 surgeons, radiation oncologists and medical oncologists were invited as a representative cross-section of clinicians with an interest in colorectal cancer. Seventy per cent of those attending were surgeons. A series of expert presentations were used to lead discussion in four sessions devoted respectively to epidemiology and screening, influence of surgical factors and outcome, the role of adjuvant therapy and planning for the future. Full discussion from delegates was encouraged and computer-collated, key-pad responses allowed documentation of the opinions of the audience in respect of pre-defined questions. For statistical purposes we have assumed that a consensus had been reached when there was a statistically significant difference (Chi-square) between the observed response from clinicians and the null hypothesis, i.e. a 50/50 split.

ID: 1953113