Bowel Cancer Map explained

Back to the map

Why is some data missing from the Bowel Cancer Map?

One of the aims of this project was to identify which data matters to patients and to identify missing data.

We have published the latest bowel cancer data (2008) available for incidence and mortality, by local authority and by constituency. However, some data is not yet available, see below:

  • Wales – data is only available by country and is not broken down into local authority or consitituency.
  • Scotland – data is only available by local authority (health board) which we have published. Data is not available by Westminster constituency.
  • Northern Ireland – data is only available by local authority which we have published. Data is not available by constituency.
  • Data for the Isle of Man and the Isles of Scilly are not yet available.

The map is an on-going project and when the above missing data is available we will publish it.

Why have you used age-standardised rates?

As well as providing the total number of cases for each area we have also provided age-standardised rates which can then be compared to other area or to the national average.

Age-standardisation adjusts rates to take into account how many old or young people are in the population being looked at. When rates are age-standardised, you know that differences between the local authority areas do not simply reflect variations in the age structure of the populations. This is important when looking at bowel cancer rates because it is more common in older people. If the rates are not age-standardised, a higher rate in one area is likely to reflect the fact that it has a greater proportion of older people. 

Why do some areas show a zero?

We are not permitted to report on numbers that are less than 5 because of the possibility of identifying individuals.  Therefore in a few areas you may find data that shows a figure greater than 5 for 'all people' and then zero for 'men' and 'women' this is because the figures have been suppressed.

Why is there more incidence of bowel cancer in some local authority & constituency areas?

There are a number of reasons which could include low awareness, family history and lifestyle factors such as exercise, diet and smoking rates.  Whilst the exact causes of bowel cancer aren't known, there are certain things that you can do to reduce your risk of developing bowel cancer, including eating healthily and taking regular exercise.  Our prevention page provides further information and you can download our comprehensive booklet 'Understanding Bowel Cancer - Detect & Diagnose', which includes symptoms and screening information,  information about bowel cancer in the family, prevention measures & methods of diagnosis.

If you do experience symptoms for three weeks or more which may indicate bowel cancer, it is important that you visit your GP.

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How can the numbers of deaths from bowel cancer be reduced?

Factors which can improve mortality rates include early diagnosis, higher participation in the NHS Bowel Cancer Screening Programme and better treatment.

When diagnosis is made early, before it has had a chance to spread, bowel cancer can be cured in over 90% of cases.  

What will the Bowel Cancer Map show me in the future?

The Bowel Cancer Map is part of a long term project with the Northern and Yorkshire Cancer Registry and Information Services (NYCRIS) to provide up-to-date information on bowel cancer data. Moving forward we aim to publish missing data and to identify the bowel cancer data that will support and empower patients whilst making decisions about their treatment and care.

Questions about the Map?

If you have questions about our Bowel Cancer Map please contact Graham Kelly.

Concerned about bowel cancer?

Please talk to our nurses.

Watch the BBC interview about the Map