Health and Environment|

Men Twice as Likely to Get Bowel Cancer than in 1970

Man in Pain from Bowel CancerAccording to research from charity Cancer Research UK, the largest cancer charity in the UK, the chances of men getting bowel cancer (formally known as colorectal cancer) have doubled since the ’70s. About one in 29 men were diagnosed with bowel cancer in 1975, but this figure rose to nearly one in 15 by 2008. Although not as much, the rate among women has increased as well – from one in 26 to one in 19. There were about 11,800 men diagnosed in 1975 compared to the 21,500 cases in 2008, while 13,500 women were diagnosed in 1975 compared to the 17,400 in 2008.

Cancer Research UK epidemiologist Professor Peter Sasieni says that people are living longer, so the number of those getting bowel cancer has risen, along with the lifetime risk of developing it. Although lifetime risk is complex, it allows them to estimate the number of people who will develop cancer by predicting their chances of getting it between birth and death based on cancer incidence rates and death rates from cancer and other things today.

Although there has been a general rise in cancer rates since people live longer nowadays, bowel cancer is heavily linked with diet and is preventable is many cases. Cancer Research UK director of health information Sara Hiom says an aging population and lifestyle changes have led to more people getting cancer than in the previous generation. There are many ways people can reduce their risk of getting this type of cancer. They can keep a healthy weight, eat a healthy diet that is low in red and processed meat but high in fibre, be physically active, don’t smoke and reduce alcohol intake. It’s also important to have a bowel screening when its suggested, she added.

The charity also says that the figures they revealed are more accurate than in the past, arriving through a new methodology that takes account of those who may have a recurrence of cancer and those who have been counted twice. It also allows for a cancer posing a particularly high risk. For example, someone who is 70 years old and hasn’t been diagnosed with bowel cancer is less likely to get it than someone 10 ore more years younger. Additionally, half of all the people diagnosed with this cancer survive for at least a decade, which is twice as many as the about 23% in the early ’70s. Between men and women, 42.2% of men are more likely to get bowel cancer, while 38.8% of women are.

These numbers were published as another charity began to voice worry about startling variations in the outcomes of diagnosis and treatment for ovarian cancer. The charity, Ovacome, pointed out that women are more likely to survive the cancer if it’s detected early on. However, more than 25% of patients had to see their general physician twice before being referred for diagnostic testing at a hospital.

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