Friday 11 January 2013

One in five bowel cancer patients diagnosed in an emergency

Many bowel cancer patients are first diagnosed in an emergency setting, when they have severe and potentially life-threatening conditions, figures show.

There are 29,000 bowel cancer patients diagnosed each year in England and Wales. One in five of these is admitted as an emergency, according to the National Bowel Cancer Audit.

Nearly a third of those diagnosed through the emergency route were not offered surgery because their cancer was already too advanced to be operated on.

The proportion of bowel cancer patients who die following major surgery has fallen for the fourth consecutive year.

But more patients operated on in an emergency died within 90 days of having surgery (11.9 per cent) compared with the number of all bowel cancer patients who died within 90 days of surgery (5.1 per cent).
More needs to be done to raise awareness about the disease to ensure more people are diagnosed earlier, say experts.

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