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Gastrointestinal Cancers Policy and Evaluation

‘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 – this stream of research is developing a multi-stage program to address gastrointestinal cancer control challenges in Australia.

Current areas of focus in this stream include:

Optimising screening for colorectal cancer

Using the predictive modelling platform, Policy1–Bowel, the team is performing modelled evaluations of the National Bowel Cancer Screening Program (NBCSP) to help guide investment, and support uptake of the program across Australia, aid recovery after disruptions to the program (e.g., COVID-19 or bushfires), and to help inform strategies for targeting vulnerable groups. The team is also performing managing the update to the population screening and family history chapters of the clinical practice guidelines as well as cost-effectiveness evaluations of different approaches to boost participation in the bowel screening program, including mass media campaigns and general practice-led interventions. They are also working as part of the COVID-19 and Cancer Global Modelling Consortium to comparatively model the impact of disruptions to bowel screening caused by COVID-19 internationally.

Exploring primary prevention and risk factors

The team is evaluating areas of priority for colorectal 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 colorectal cancer

Colorectal 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 working towards an understanding of the burden of liver cancer in Australia and overseas. In Australia, they have worked with collaborators to develop a roadmap for improving liver cancer outcomes. This has informed the development of Clinical Guidelines for surveillance of  populations at high risk. The team is also exploring the impact on non-alcoholic fatty liver disease and alcohol related liver disease on liver cancer in Australia now and in the future.

Understanding multiple myeloma

The team is working on the current and future burden of multiple myeloma in Australia as part of Cancer-PPP. They are working with collaborators to project future patient numbers for multiple myeloma given its increasing prevalence.

Research Team

Associate Professor Eleonora Feletto

Stream lead, Gastrointestinal Cancers Policy and Evaluation

Professor Karen Canfell AC

Director, The Daffodil Centre; Stream lead, Cervical Cancer and HPV

Katherine Barron

Program Manager

Associate Professor Eleonora Feletto

Stream lead, Gastrointestinal Cancers Policy and Evaluation

Han Ge

Research Programmer

Dr Emily He

Senior Research Fellow

Anna Kelly

Senior Research Assistant

Kelera Levu

Research Assistant

Dr Jie-Bin Lew

Senior Research Fellow

Dr Joachim Worthington

Research Fellow

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