Beating bowel cancer together

Survival rates for bowel cancer have plateaued, according to new figures

Tuesday 13 August 2019

New figures showing cancer survival rates in England, published by the Office for National Statistics, indicate that survival rates for bowel cancer have remained relatively the same over the last decade. 

The latest statistics estimate that around 58% of patients diagnosed with bowel cancer between 2013 and 2017 will survive for five years or more – a figure that hasn’t changed compared to previous figures. 

Comparison of five year survival rates for bowel cancers between 2008-2012 and 2013-2017: 

  • 2008-2012: 58.1%
  • 2013-2017: 58.4%

The NHS long-term plan targets an increase in the proportion of cancers diagnosed at stages 1 and 2 from around 50% now to 75% of cancer patients by 2028 to help boost survival rates. From 2028, the aim is for 55,000 more people each year to survive cancer for at least five years after diagnosis.

Dr Lisa Wilde, Director of Research and External Affairs, at Bowel Cancer UK said:

“These statistics highlight the importance of early diagnosis as we know that nearly everyone survives bowel cancer if diagnosed at the earliest stage, however this drops significantly as the disease develops. 

“Bowel cancer screening is the best route to an early diagnosis but we need an optimal screening programme in place to deliver this for more people. Optimal screening includes lowering the screening age from 60 to 50, something the government committed to last year, and improving the sensitivity of the new screening test, so that it has the ability to detect more cancers. In order to achieve this, it’s essential that the government invests in chronic shortages of key NHS staff who diagnose bowel cancer if they are to meet the goal laid out in the NHS long term plan of increasing early diagnosis of cancers to 75% by 2028.”



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