Beating Bowel Cancer, a leading charity has warned that thousands of people in England are dying from bowel cancer because their disease is spotted too late. They also found that there is a wide variation within the NHS in England in diagnosing the disease.
The figures show that if every NHS region in England performed as well as the best at diagnosing the disease early, 3,200 lives could be saved and £34 million could be diverted to other bowel cancer services and treatments.
If every patient with bowel cancer was diagnosed sooner (at stage one or two) the NHS could avert treatment costs of more than £103 million.
Early detection is vital
Those diagnosed with the disease in its advanced stages have a 7% chance of living another five years.
This compares with a 97% chance of survival if the cancer is detected at the earliest possible stage.
In the UK, about 41,000 people are diagnosed with bowel cancer each year and about 16,000 die of the disease.
The main symptoms of bowel cancer to look out for are:
Bleeding from the bottom or blood in the stools (faeces)
A change in your bowel habit lasting more than 3 weeks
Abdominal pain especially if severe
A lump in your tummy
Weight loss and tiredness
If you are suffering from any of these symptoms then please book an appointment with your GP straight away. The longer you leave it, the bigger the problem.
*** Healthy Performance added Bowel Screening Tests to their most popular Health Checks last year ***
What are the tests?
A Bowel Screening Test is a self-administering test which can detect occult (hidden) blood in your stool. Once the test is complete it is sent to our lab for analysis and results will be available within 7 to 14 days. A positive result may be indicative of a number of health issues including bowel cancer.
Why take one?
Around one in 17 people in the UK will develop bowel cancer – men and women of all ages, cultures and backgrounds. It is the third most common cancer and the second biggest cause of cancer deaths.
A bowel screening test aims to detect polyps and other changes in the bowel that might develop into bowel cancer in the future. It can help to detect bowel cancer at a much earlier stage, before people are experiencing any obvious symptoms.
This is very important, because bowel cancer is usually a very slow growing disease, and can be cured with a straightforward operation if it is detected before it has started to spread.