Help us to stop bowel cancer

Our response to the National Bowel Cancer Audit 2016 report

Today (Friday 16 December), the National Bowel Cancer Audit released their 2016 Annual Report. The Audit was established to investigate and compare the diagnosis, care and outcomes of patients diagnosed with bowel cancer in England and Wales.

It aims to use this information to work towards improving the quality of care and survival of patients. It is now well established and has collected data in its professional form since 2005.

Commenting on the report Deborah Alsina MBE, Chief Executive, Bowel Cancer UK and member of the National Bowel Cancer Audit Clinical Advisory Group, said:

"We warmly welcome the publication of the audit as it provides a useful picture of bowel cancer treatment and care across England and Wales.

Whilst we are pleased to see ongoing improvements in care in some areas, particularly during challenging times for the NHS, we continue to be concerned by the wide levels of variation. For example it is worrying that only 24% of people of screening age are diagnosed through the NHS bowel cancer screening programme and there is such widespread variation across England and Wales.

Screening aims to detect bowel cancer early and early diagnosis saves lives. It's therefore vital more is done to promote the programme and the new faecal immunochemical test (FIT), which has been shown to increase uptake, is introduced without delay and at sensitivity that enables the detection of more cancers.

The results also show a significant proportion, (20%), of people are still being diagnosed as an emergency with only 53% considered curable and treatable, compared with 88% of people diagnosed through screening. We know that patients diagnosed with bowel cancer as an emergency have worse outcomes and reducing emergency presentation must continue to be prioritised. This includes ensuring we have sufficient diagnostic capacity so that people with alarm symptoms are referred without delay.” 

A patient report has also been released. Click here to read