Bowel cancer is the fourth most common cancer in the UK and second biggest cancer killer. However, it shouldn't be. The disease is preventable, treatable and curable, and there have been major advances in treatments and bowel cancer screening programmes in recent years.
Despite this, only 58.7% of the 41,300 people diagnosed with bowel cancer each year will survive for five years of more. For people diagnosed at the latest stage of the disease, this falls to less than one in ten. Lives can be saved if we could diagnose people earlier, develop new and more effective treatments (including improvements to surgery), and ensure people, irrespective of where they live, have access to high quality care.
The major advances in saving lives from bowel cancer in the past 20 years have all come through research. Through strategic investment in targeted research, we will deliver improvements in bowel cancer survival in our lifetime.
We want to transform bowel cancer survival rates. By 2025, we want to see the number of people surviving at least five years increase from 60% to 75%.
Our research strategy is focused on four key areas:
- Investigating the gaps in bowel cancer research
- Understanding bowel cancer in younger people
- Improving surgery for bowel cancer patients
- Putting patients at the heart of research
Our new research strategy is in development and will be available in Autumn 2017.