- Bowel cancer is the fourth most common cancer in the UK.
- Around 41,600 people were diagnosed with bowel cancer in 2011 in the UK, that’s more than 110 people every day.
- In 2011, around 23,200 men were diagnosed with bowel cancer in the UK making it the third most common cancer in men after prostate and lung cancer.
- Bowel cancer is the third most common cancer in women after breast and lung cancer, with around 18,400 new cases diagnosed in the UK in 2011.
- 95% of bowel cancer cases occur in people aged 50 and over.
- Bowel cancer incidence rates have increased by 6% over the last decade.
- Most bowel cancer cases are diagnosed at a late stage.
- In Europe, around 477,000 new cases of bowel cancer were estimated to have been diagnosed in 2012. The UK incidence rate is 20th highest in Europe for males and 17th highest for females.
- Worldwide, an estimated 1.36 million new cases of bowel cancer were diagnosed in 2012, with incidence rates varying across the world.
Bowel cancer statistics
New cases of bowel cancer, 2011, UK
Deaths from bowel cancer, 2012, UK
Survive bowel cancer for 10 or more years, 2010-11, England and Wales
Preventable cases of bowel cancer, UK
- Bowel cancer is the second most common cause of cancer death in the UK after lung cancer.
- Around 16,200 people died of bowel cancer in 2012 in the UK, that's more than 44 people every day.
- Bowel cancer death rates have been falling since the 1970s. Over the last decade death rates have dropped by around 14%.
- In Europe around 215,000 people were estimated to have died from bowel cancer in 2012. The UK mortality rate is 10th lowest in Europe for males and 14th lowest for females.
- Worldwide, around 694,000 people were estimated to have died from bowel cancer in 2012, with mortality rates varying across the world.
- Almost 6 in 10 (57%) people diagnosed with bowel cancer in England and Wales survive their disease for ten years or more (2010-11).
- Around 6 in 10 (59%) people diagnosed with bowel cancer in England and Wales survive their disease for five years or more (2010-11).
- Around three-quarters (76%) of people diagnosed with bowel cancer in England and Wales survive their disease for one year or more (2010-11).
- Bowel cancer survival is higher in men than women.
- Bowel cancer survival is highest for people diagnosed aged 60-69, probably because of screening.
- More than 6 in 10 people diagnosed aged 15-69 survive their disease for five years or more, compared with 4 in 10 people diagnosed aged 80 and over.
- Bowel cancer survival is improving and has more than doubled in the last 40 years in the UK.
- In the 1970s, more than a fifth of people diagnosed with bowel cancer survived their disease beyond ten years, now it's almost 6 in 10.
- When diagnosed at its earliest stage, more than 9 in 10 people with bowel cancer will survive their disease for five years or more, compared with less than 1 in 10 people when diagnosed at the latest stage.
- 54% of bowel cancer cases each year in the UK are linked to major lifestyle and other risk factors.
- A person’s risk of developing bowel cancer depends on many factors, including age, genetics, and exposure to risk factors (including some potentially avoidable lifestyle factors).
- An estimated 54% of bowel cancers in the UK are linked to lifestyle factors including meat consumption (21%), overweight and obesity (13%), alcohol (12%), smoking (8%) and ionising radiation (2%).
- Fibre consumption and physical activity protect against bowel cancer (inadequate levels are linked to an estimated 12% and 3% respectively of bowel cancer cases in the UK).
- Asbestos exposure, other dietary intakes, and certain medical conditions and infections may relate to higher bowel cancer risk.
- ‘Two-week wait’ referral is the most common route to diagnosis of bowel cancer.
- ‘Two-week wait’ standard is met by England, ‘31-day wait’ is met by all countries but Wales, and ‘62-day wait’ is not met by any country for lower gastrointestinal cancers.
- The NHS Bowel Screening Programme began in England in 2006, Scotland in 2007, Wales in 2008 and in Northern Ireland in 2010.
- It’s predicted that the bowel screening programme will save over 2,000 lives each year by 2025.
The latest statistics available for bowel cancer in the UK are; incidence 2011, mortality 2012 and survival 2010-2011.
The ICD code for bowel cancer survival are ICD-10 C18-C20 and C21.8. The ICD code for colon cancer is ICD-10 C18. The ICD codes for rectal cancer are ICD-10 C19-C20 and C21.8.
Bowel cancer is sometimes called colorectal cancer and some data include anal cancer.
Survival statistics give an overall picture of survival and (unless otherwise stated) include all adults (15-99) diagnosed, at all ages,
Stage at diagnosis data is not yet routinely available for the UK due to inconsistencies in the collecting and recording of staging data in the past.
Routes to diagnosis statistics were calculated from cases of cancer registered in England which were diagnosed in 2006-2010.
Cancer waiting times statistics are for patients who entered the health care system within financial year 2014-15. Bowel cancer is part of the group 'Lower Gastrointestinal cancer' for cancer waiting times data. Codes vary per country but broadly include: small intestine, colon, rectosigmoid junction, rectum, anus and anal canal, other and ill-defined digestive organs, secondary cancers of small intestine, large intestine, rectum, and unspecified digestive organs.
We would like to acknowledge the essential work of the cancer registries in the United Kingdom and Ireland Association of Cancer Registries, without which there would be no data.
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