FINANCE: Yeovil District Hospital Foundation Trust has been awarded a £250,000 research grant by the Department of Health to conduct research into treatement for colorectal cancer.

The study, which is being run in collaboration with Imperial College, London, will involve 50 patients from Yeovil District Hospital and five other hospitals and aims to identify the most beneficial time for patients to have surgery following chemo-radiotherapy for rectal cancer.

The award is the latest in a series of grants to the research and development department at the trust which has one more than £1m funding in the past year.

The research will be led by consultant colorectal surgeon Nader Francis, supported by a research fellow in surgery and a research nurse.

Mr Francis said: “Surgery is the mainstay of treatment for rectal cancer but when the tumour is advanced, patients may have to undergo chemo-radiotherapy in order to reduce the tumour size prior to surgery. The aim of this randomised controlled trial is to evaluate the best time for surgery after chemo-radiotherapy and its impact on complexity of surgery especially with laparoscopic (key-hole) technique.  

“By delaying surgery it may be possible to reduce operating risks and times which have the potential to reduce complications, enhance recovery and avoid the need to give the patient a stoma. This not only improves patient outcomes but reduces the cost to the NHS.”