Healthy living

Huge variation in bowel cancer death rates across UK

Bowel cancer death rates vary across country Second biggest cause of cancer death in UK

Your chances from dying from bowel cancer can vary depending on where you live, a charity has warned.

According to the charity Beating Bowel Cancer, there is a three-fold variation in bowel cancer death rates between the best and worst performing areas across the UK.

Glasgow has the highest bowel cancer death rate in the UK, with 31 people per 100,000 dying from the disease every year, while Rossendale, Lancashire has the lowest with nine deaths per 100,000 due to the disease.

Bowel cancer is the second most common cause of death from cancer in the UK.

Although the reasons behind the variation are unclear, the charity said that factors such as low participation in bowel cancer screening, poor awareness of bowel cancer symptoms and unhealthy diets and lifestyles, all play a role.

Mark Flannagan, chief executive of Beating Bowel Cancer, said: Too many people are dying from bowel cancer, no matter where they live. Deaths from bowel cancer, could, and should, be much less common.

"Early diagnosis is key, so today we are calling on people to take responsibility for their bowel cancer risk. People can give themselves a life-saving chance by being aware of bowel cancer symptoms and taking part in bowel cancer screening when it is offered to them.

"The figures are intriguing. It will be extremely important for local NHS organisations to examine information for their own area and use it to inform potential changes in delivery of services."

The charity has also launched a new Bowel Cancer Map, where people can put in their postcode and find out the bowel cancer figures for their area.

This article was published on Mon 12 September 2011

Image © Alexander Raths -

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