Charity warns wide variations in bowel cancer death rates must not be ignored

FIGURES SHOW WIDE VARIATIONS IN BOWEL CANCER DEATH RATES

Beating Bowel Cancer calculates that over 5,000 lives could be saved every year

Figures issued today reveal that bowel cancer death rates vary significantly across the UK, depending on where you live.

These latest statistics released show that there is a three-fold variation in bowel cancer death rates between the best and worst performing areas across the UK.  However, even the lowest death rates are considered too high as bowel cancer continues to be the UK’s second biggest cancer killer.

Glasgow has the UK’s highest bowel cancer death rate, with 31 people per 100,000 dying from the disease every year. The lowest can be found in Rossendale, Lancashire where this figure drops to 9 deaths from bowel cancer per 100,000 population.

Whilst the causes of these variations are not clear, factors such as low participation in bowel cancer screening, poor awareness of bowel cancer symptoms and unhealthy diets and lifestyles, all play a part.

Mark Flannagan, Chief Executive of Beating Bowel Cancer comments: “Too many people are dying from bowel cancer, no matter where they live. Deaths from bowel cancer could, and should, be much less common. Early diagnosis is key, so today we are calling on people to take responsibility for their bowel cancer risk. People can give themselves a life-saving chance by being aware of bowel cancer symptoms and taking part in bowel cancer screening when it is offered to them.”

Professor Lindsey Davies - president of Faculty of Public Health said  "This innovative Bowel Cancer Map demonstrates how important it is that everyone diagnosed with bowel cancer gets prompt access to treatment, regardless of where they live. The map is an excellent tool for public health professionals who, with others, play a vital role in reducing the risk of all forms of cancer."

In order to help people identify their risk we have launched a new Bowel Cancer Map. Visit www.bowelcancermap.org and put in your postcode to find out the latest bowel cancer figures in your area.  The map will link to more information about bowel cancer including how to reduce your risk and advice on what to do if you are worried about symptoms, and information about screening.”

Watch the BBC interview about the Map and the variations in mortality across the UK.