Beating bowel cancer together

Our response to the National Bowel Cancer Audit Report

The National Bowel Cancer 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, Chief Executive, Bowel Cancer UK said: "We warmly welcome this audit as it provides a useful picture of bowel cancer treatment and care across the UK."

"Of particular concern however, is that only a fifth of people diagnosed with bowel cancer who are of screening age (age 60-74) had their cancers detected through screening.  We know that early diagnosis saves lives; it's vital more is done to ensure that people are aware of screening and take up that opportunity when invited.  It is also essential that the current screening test, which is missing 50 per cent of cancers, is replaced quickly in all four nations of the UK, with the more sensitive Faecal Immunochemical Test.  This not only detects more cancers but has also been shown to increase screening uptake. We hope there will be positive progress on this in 2016."

"It is also shocking that for the last five years, around one in five people are first diagnosed with bowel cancer when they arrive at hospital as an emergency admission; a distressing and often life-threatening situation and this is even higher for those under 50.  Many of these emergencies could be avoided with greater awareness of the symptoms of bowel cancer and swifter referral for diagnostic tests to ensure bowel cancer is either identified or ruled out much more quickly."

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