Since 1999 Beating Bowel Cancer has been saving lives from bowel cancer, the UK’s second biggest cancer killer, by raising awareness of symptoms, promoting early diagnosis and encouraging open access to treatments.
Over the past decade, major developments in cancer policy and treatments have improved the quality of life of bowel cancer patients. Screening for bowel cancer is now available nationally (for those aged 60-75 in England, Wales and Northern Ireland; and aged 50-75 in Scotland), and we have witnessed major innovations in the treatment options available which, over the last decade, have resulted in death rates falling by around 13%.
However, major challenges remain. If diagnosed at stage 1, 97% survive five years or more. If diagnosed at stage 4, just 7% survive five years or more [England figures]. Around 40% of the 41,000 people diagnosed with bowel cancer each year will die of the disease.
In 2015 we published our Bowel cancer: a vision for 2020 setting out our ambitions for bowel cancer: