Nearly 10% of bowel cancer patients die within a month after being diagnosed, with more than half (56%) aged over 80, a new study has found.
The research by the National Cancer Intelligence Network (NCIN) also reveals that many people only find out they have cancer after being admitted to hospital in an emergency.
The study found that a total of 91,980 people were diagnosed with bowel cancer in England between 2006 and 2008, with around 9,000 dying within a month after receiving their diagnosis..
Eva Morris, one of the study authors, from the University of Leeds, said: “Crucially, the report highlights that these people tend to first be seen as an emergency patient in hospital and have advanced disease and can’t be offered treatment that could potentially cure them.
“But, there is a problem of older patients being more likely to die quickly after a bowel cancer diagnosis.”
Chris Carrigan, head of the NCIN, said: “We need to ensure that the public are aware of the early signs of bowel cancer like having blood in your poo or loose poo for more than three weeks.
“We must also try and break down any barriers preventing people going to their GP when they have these symptoms.”