Facts about bowel cancer – read our guide to the facts behind this serious condition and how it is managed in the UK.

Bowel cancer is a serious condition generally requiring significant treatment, often through surgery, chemotherapy or radiotherapy or a combination of all three. Despite being one of the most common cancers in the UK, the condition is not in the public consciousness as much as it ought to be. More needs to be done to raise awareness and knowledge of the condition and how people can, if properly diagnosed and treated, go on to make strong recoveries.

The statistics below are quoted from organisations that research bowel and other cancers and help patients to deal with the many life changes that the disease can bring about. A broad overview of the state of bowel cancer care and survival, they paint a picture of the landscape of this disease in the UK today.

Bowel cancer statistics UK

  • Bowel cancer is the 4th most common cancer in the UK (after breast, prostate and lung cancer).
  • Bowel cancer is the 2nd most common cause of cancer death in the UK (lung cancer being the first).
  • In 2013 there were 41,112 new cases of bowel cancer (56% men, 44% women), that's the equivalent of 112 people being diagnosed with bowel cancer every day.
  • In 2013 bowel cancer accounted for 12% of all cancer cases.
  • 16,187 people die from bowel cancer every year in the UK.
  • 57% of people survive bowel cancer for 10 or more years.
  • It is estimated that 54% of bowel cancers in the UK are linked to lifestyle and other risk factors including eating red/processed meats, obesity, alcohol and smoking.
  • The NHS bowel cancer screening programme was introduced across in England in 2006, Scotland in 2007, Wales in 2008 and Northern Ireland in 2010, it is predicted that the screening programme will save over 2,000 lives each year by 2025.
  • When diagnosed at its earliest stage, more than 9 in 10 people with bowel cancer will survive their disease for five years or more, this is compared to less than 1 in 10 people when diagnosed at the latest stage.