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Bowel cancer deaths in the UK have dropped by more than 30% in the last two decades due to better treatment - but it is still the SECOND most common cause of cancer death

Published on 16 August 2017 back to previous

The rate of people dying from bowel cancer in the UK has plummeted by more than 30 per cent in the last 20 years. 

The disease was responsible for 38 deaths per 100,000 people in 1995, falling to 26 deaths per 100,000 people by 2015, according to new figures released by Cancer Research UK.

The drop in rates, taking into account changing population figures, equates to a decrease in bowel cancer deaths from 17,600 in 1995 to 15,800 in 2015.

Experts believe better treatment lies behind the dramatic drop in deaths. 

Improved public awareness among both patients and doctors and the NHS's bowel screening programme may also be playing a part, they say.

However, while the disease's mortality rates continue to decline, bowel cancer is still the second most common cause of cancer death in the UK - accounting for 10 per cent of all cancer deaths.

Professor Matt Seymour, Cancer Research UK's bowel cancer expert based at the University of Leeds, said: 'Early diagnosis is critical for bowel cancer survival. 

'In my opinion GPs and patients are becoming more aware of bowel cancer symptoms and acting more quickly than in the past.

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