Improved survival for bowel cancer


People are almost 50 per cent more likely to survive bowel cancer compared to 30 years ago, according to recent figures.

The statistics, from ISD Scotland, have been revealed to coincide with the launch of the Scottish Government’s groundbreaking bowel cancer campaign.

They show that the five year survival rate for bowel cancer increased from 38 per cent between 1983 to 1987, to 55 per cent between 2003 and 2007.

From April 2013, the bowel screening programme will be extended, and those over the age of 74 will be able to self-refer every two years.

Currently, men and women aged 50-74 are invited to participate in screening every two years.

Health Secretary Alex Neil said:

“These statistics are encouraging and show that today people are far more likely to survive bowel cancer than they were 30 years ago.

“However, there are still far too many people being diagnosed with bowel cancer at the later stages.

“That is why, as part of the Detect Cancer Early Programme, we are launching our bowel cancer campaign tomorrow, to raise awareness of the bowel screening programme.

“Participating in the bowel screening programme gives the best chance of detecting bowel cancer early. When bowel cancer is detected at an early stage it is treatable and nine out of 10 people beat it.

“From April 2013, those over the age of 74 will be able to request a screening kit through the Scottish bowel screening helpline every two years.”

The campaign comes on the back of the Scottish Government’s widely successful breast cancer campaign, featuring Elaine C Smith, which has received over 130,000 views on youtube – the most for any Scottish Government video.

In 2010, only 15 per cent of bowel cancers were detected at the earliest stage, but cancer was almost twice as likely (28 per cent) to be diagnosed at the earliest stage through screening.

The bowel cancer drive will focus on the importance of bowel screening in increasing the early detection of bowel cancer, and encourage all men and women aged between 50 and 74 to participate in the screening programme.