STRENGTH IN NUMBERS

Strength in Numbers dedicated to my late mother Kay

Warning over late bowel cancer diagnosis in the Midlands. ITV report

New figures by charity Beating Bowel Cancer show many bowel cancer patients in the East Midlands are still diagnosed too late, costing the NHS millions.

Nottingham NHS Clinical Commissioning Group comes out as one of the five worst performing for early diagnosis as does East Leicestershire and Rutland. There is currently a huge variation within the NHS across England in terms of early diagnosis of bowel cancer – the UK’s second biggest cancer killer – with the best performing Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) diagnosing 63% of patients early, compared with only 30% in the worst. The figures show that if every NHS region in England performed as well as the best at diagnosing bowel cancer early (stages 1 and 2), 3,200 lives could be saved and £34 million could be diverted to other bowel cancer services and treatments.

Those diagnosed with stage 1 bowel cancer have a 97% chance of survival, compared to just 7% when the cancer is more advanced. However, not only does early diagnosis provide patients with a much better chance of survival, it also costs the NHS far less. This is due to the fact that treatment for the earlier stages of cancer is often less intensive and invasive than treatment for more advanced disease.

If every patient with bowel cancer was diagnosed early (at stage 1 or 2) the NHS could avert treatment costs of over £103 million.

“It’s unacceptable that there are CCGs in England that diagnose less than 1 in 3 patients at an early stage.

If they all performed as well as the best, thousands of lives could be saved and millions of pounds could be freed up to be used for other bowel cancer treatments, which patients are frequently told are unaffordable.”

– CHIEF EXECUTIVE OF BEATING BOWEL CANCER, MARK FLANNAGAN
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Late diagnosis for bowel cancer could be costing the NHS £103 million every year,Photo: Anthony Devlin/PA

Filed under: Cancer, NHS,

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