NOTTINGHAM, England – Researchers at the University of Nottingham have developed a web calculator that can predict the survival rate of patients diagnosed with bowel cancer.
The tool, which was developed with medical software company ClinRisk Ltd., can be accessed by both physicians and patients. It is intended to help people make more informed decisions around treatment and manage expectations following a diagnosis.
“Current methods of estimating survival tend to be unreliable and sometimes patients can be given a fairly misleading and unnecessarily gloomy prognosis based only on the grade and stage of their cancer, only to find that in reality they live much longer than these crude predictions when other information is taken into account,” said Julia Hippisley-Cox, one of the tool’s developers, in a statement.
“The good news is that this new calculator will offer a far more realistic estimate,” she said.
Research to test the accuracy of the calculator, published recently in the British Medical Journal, showed that it can reliably predict both absolute survival rates for men and women with colorectal cancer.
The calculator also allows patients to update their mortality risk based on how long they have survived following a diagnosis of cancer.
The tool was developed by a team led by Hippisley-Cox and Carol Coupland, professors at the University’s School of Medicine, using the QResearch database, which gathers patient data from approximately 1,500 general practices across England through EMIS Health’s clinical computer systems.
To develop a prognosis, the calculator looks at a range of risk factors including the patient’s, smoking history, body mass index, family history, other illnesses and treatments such as aspirin or statins, as well as information like whether they have had surgery or treatments such as chemotherapy.
The team that developed the calculator will adapt it to predict prognosis in other types of cancers in the future.