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We are progressing in the fight against cancer. Cancer survival in the UK has doubled in the last 40 years, and nearly half of the most common cancers have a ten year survival rate of 50% or more (1). This is largely due to faster diagnosis and advances in treatment. Research at the Royal Bournemouth Hospital has had a small, but significant, role in these advances.

Cancer research was established in the Trust in the early 1990s. Research in the Oncology Department is supported by the work of consultants, research nurses and project co-ordinator/data management expertise. This team manage a number of open trials every year, and are able to draw on a significant patient cohort: last year over 1,600 people used the services of medical oncology at the Royal Bournemouth Hospital. The department has close links with the Institute of Cancer Research at Royal Marsden Hospital, and clinical trials research units at Liverpool, Leeds and Southampton, as well as industry partnerships with Roche and Quintiles. Our cancer research has the structure, experience and partnerships to continue the expansion of its broad clinical trials portfolio.

Our key areas of research in cancer are:

  • breast
  • colorectal
  • prostate
  • lung
  • renal / bladder
  • pancreatic / bilary tract

Our research nurses are hospital staff and, together with our research-active clinicians, aim to select the most beneficial clinical trials for their patients. In common with other therapeutic areas, the cancer staff meets regularly to identify patients who may be eligible for the trials, so that wherever possible patients are informed about relevant clinical trials and are given choices about their treatments.

85.3% of our patients achieve their first definitive treatment within 62 days of an urgent GP referral. With our excellent services we have seen 98% of all our patients needing radiotherapy, receive it within 31 days. Both statistics exceed the national target.

STAMPEDE - (Systemic Therapy in Advancing or Metastatic Prostate Cancer: Evaluation of Drug Efficacy) is a large phase III randomised clinical trial conducted in our oncology department.

This Multi-arm trial has assessed how effective multiple alternative treatments and regiments are at treating prostate cancer. Preliminary evidence suggests that treatment with Docetaxel shows potential to alter the way prostate cancer is treated. Due to new evidence many doctors are now integrating radiotherapy with the standard therapy (long-term hormone treatment) to improve the prognosis. We are proud to be one of the many NHS Trusts taking part in this multinational trial that is at the forefront of not only treating prostate cancer, but improving the Quality of life of prostate cancer patients. With the ever-changing nature of the trial we have previously been able to provide patients with access to drugs such as Abiraterone and Enzalutamide, and we are currently taking part in the Metformin arm of the trial.


Many of our trials are now looking at developing targeted treatments, where the treatment will be matched to a particular sub-type of the cancer. One such trial is PlasmaMATCH, a Phase II trial using a blood test to find certain gene changes and decide treatment for advanced breast cancer. This goal directed therapy seeks to determine whether cancer mutation markers (ctDNA) screening is a reliable test that may spare future patients from having biopsies of their advanced breast cancer, and find answers to questions that could help to improve the treatment and/or quality of life for future breast cancer patients. The trial aims on recruiting 1,000 patients with advanced breast cancer. The Royal Bournemouth is playing a part in a potentially significant advancement in our fight against cancer.


NiceFIT is a novel test called faecal immunochemical test (FIT) and is currently being conducted at The Royal Bournemouth Hospital and other trusts nationwide to check for bowel cancer. FIT is a test that looks for tiny traces of blood in patient’s stool (using a dipstick test). Only 3% of people sent for a colonoscopy (Gold standard), test positive for colon cancer. The primary aim of NiceFIT is to find out if FIT can tell who needs to have a colonoscopy when they have symptoms. With our participation we hope to be part of a potential change of standard clinical practice, which aims to provide the best services to the public. With a saving of around £300 per person the potential implementation of FIT could have a significant impact on NHS funds.

(1) Cancer Research UK (2014) Cancer Incidence in UK in 2011, report available at:

List of cancer publications

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