Poorer patients more likely to die from bowel cancer
Thursday, June 14, 2012
Bowel Cancer UK's statement in relation to
theNational Cancer Intelligence Network's Press Release
'Poorest bowel cancer patients more likely to die within month of
Deborah Alsina, CEO, Bowel Cancer UK said: "This report shows
the devastating impact of leaving things far too late. It is vital
that people realise just how important it is to recognise the
symptoms of bowel cancer and what to do next. If people are
concerned then they should go to their doctor immediately. The best
things to stack the odds against bowel cancer are to take regular
exercise and eat the right sorts of food as this could lower the
risk. Reaching into the more deprived areas in this country to
inform people of how crucial early diagnosis is, is now even more
important as this really can save lives."
National Cancer Intelligence Network Press
Poorest bowel cancer patients more likely to die within month of
Bowel cancer patients living in the most deprived areas are 24
per cent more likely to die within five years of treatment than
their more affluent neighbours and this difference appears to be a
result of excess deaths within the first 30 days following surgery
to treat the disease.
These are the findings of new data presented at the annual National
Cancer Intelligence Network(NCIN) conference in Birmingham.
Researchers at the West of Scotland Cancer Surveillance Unit
working in collaboration with the West of
Scotland Colorectal Cancer Managed Clinical Network looked at
nearly 4,300 patients who had surgery for bowel cancer. The study
compared patients of the same age at diagnosis and sex in the
various socioeconomic groups.
The results showed that survival for five-years after surgery
for bowel cancer was lower among patients from the most deprived
areas - 59.5 per cent of patients analysed - compared with 69.7 per
cent among the most affluent patients.
The researchers said that this was partly because more patients
from deprived areas were diagnosed with bowel cancer through
emergency presentations, with the disease at a later stage
Patients from more deprived areas were also more likely to have
other illnesses and surgery was less likely to cure the disease
compared to those from more affluent areas. These factors have lead
to bowel cancer patients from deprived areas being more likely to
die within 30 days of having surgery.
Raymond Oliphant, lead researcher and a clinical research fellow
based at the University of Glasgow's West of Scotland Cancer
Surveillance Unit, said: "This research further highlights that
survival following treatment for bowel cancer is better in people
from the most affluent areas and worst among the most deprived.
"This study builds on previous research in this area by giving
more detail on both short and longer term survival differences
between patients from different economic backgrounds and will help
those working on ways to improve outcomes for bowel cancer
When researchers excluded patients who died within the first
30-days of surgery from their analysis, they found no difference in
survival between socioeconomic groups.
This suggests that the biggest impact on survival between deprived
and affluent patients happens in the very first few weeks after
Chris Carrigan, head of the NCIN, said: "This study once again
stresses the urgent need to improve the health of people living in
deprived areas and to make sure all cancer patients have an equal
chance of surviving their cancer.
"Deprivation is one of the biggest causes of cancer inequality
in this country. We know that people from more deprived areas are
more likely to smoke or be very overweight. They are also less
likely to be aware of signs and symptoms of cancer, probably
leading to later diagnosis, which may further increase their
chances of dying from their disease.
"We need to take a close look at factors like late diagnosis,
uptake of screening and variations in treatment for people from
different social and economic backgrounds if we are to reduce
inequality in cancer survival.
"But in the meantime everyone can do their bit by giving up
smoking, which increases the risk of other diseases which affect
the outcome of surgery, eating sensibly and seeing a GP as soon as
possible if they notice anything unusual about their body."