Speak to a registered nurse.
Call the Beating Bowel Cancer Helpline
(9-5:30 Mon - Thu, 9-4 Fri)

020 8973 0011

or email

Facts and figures

Bowel cancer facts

  • Bowel cancer is the UK’s second biggest cancer killer – every half an hour someone dies of the disease
  • Each year around 16,000 people die of bowel cancer
  • In the UK around 41,000 people are diagnosed with bowel cancer each year
  • Bowel cancer is the fourth most common cancer in the UK
  • Around 110 people are diagnosed with bowel cancer every day, that’s someone every 15 minutes
  • Bowel cancer affects both men and women
  • If diagnosed early, more than 90% of bowel cancer cases can be treated successfully
  • Five year survival rates for bowel cancer have doubled over the last 40 years
  • The majority (95%) of bowel cancer cases occur in people over 50, but it can affect anyone of any age
  • Your lifetime risk of developing bowel cancer is 1 in 16. For men it’s 1 in 14 and for women 1 in 19


Statistics from Cancer Research UK.

What are the symptoms?

Anyone experiencing one or more of these symptoms for three weeks or more should go and see their GP.


  • Bleeding from the bottom or blood in your poo
  • A persistent change in bowel habit, especially going more often or looser stools
  • Abdominal pain, especially if severe
  • A lump in your tummy
  • Unexplained weight loss or tiredness

Risk factors

There is no known cause for bowel cancer however your age, diet, lifestyle and family history can all affect your chances of developing bowel cancer.


The following factors are known to increase your risk of developing bowel cancer:


  • High intake of saturated fats, red or processed meat
  • Inactivity and being overweight
  • Drinking over 2 units of alcohol per day
  • If you have an immediate relative with bowel cancer
  • If you have diabetes, ulcerative colitis or Crohns disease

Reducing your risk

There are a number of ways you can reduce your risk of developing bowel cancer:


  • Eat a healthy diet. This means eating lots of fruit, vegetables, wholegrain foods and fish, and less fat, red and processed meat
  • Take regular exercise and try to maintain a healthy weight
  • Stop smoking
  • Moderate your alcohol intake
  • Know your body and how it usually functions so that you recognise changes in your bowel habits


For facts and figures on bowel cancer contact Emily Stallard on 020 8614 3855.