New research suggests 10% increase in bowel cancer cases by 2040

bowel cancer rise
Predicted 10% rise in bowel cancer cases by 2040Kinga Krzeminska - Getty Images

Data from a new study has warned of a potential 10% increase in the number of people being diagnosed with bowel cancer by 2040.

According to the research, carried out by The Bowelbabe Fund for Cancer Research UK, if trends in bowel cancer continue at the current rate, the number of people diagnosed with the disease will rise from 42,800 to 47,700. The estimated death tally from the disease would reach 2,500.

At present, there are 42,886 new cases of bowel cancer annually in the UK. Cancer Research UK claims that of these diagnosed cases, 54% are preventable. On average, 16,808 people die from the disease.

One of the reasons behind the potential increase is the UK’s ageing population, as older people are more likely to be diagnosed with cancer. In England, bowel cancer has a survival rate of 53% - which is 10% lower than in other European counties, per Bowel Cancer UK. The projected figures also noted an increase in patients with complex, age-related needs, who need follow-up care.

According to Bowel Cancer UK, 1 in 18 women will be diagnosed with bowel cancer in their lifetime - and the charity believes that Brits' dislike of discussing their toilet habits could play a huge role in the frequency and severity of the disease.

They found that one in five (circa 6.6 million people) put off speaking to their GP about what they view as 'embarrassing' bowel symptoms, which might be why fewer than four in ten people are diagnosed with bowel cancer in the early stages.

Genevieve Edwards, Chief Executive at Bowel Cancer UK, said: 'Someone is diagnosed in the UK with bowel cancer every 15 minutes but fewer than four in ten people are diagnosed in the early stages when it is easier to treat.'

Warning signs of bowel cancer

Per Bowel Cancer UK, symptoms of the disease include:

If you experience any of these symptoms, consult a specialist or your GP.

What increases your risk of bowel cancer?

A person’s risk of developing the disease depends on many factors, including obesity (11% of cases), eating overly processed foods (13%), smoking (7% ), and eating too little fibre (28%).

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