Quarter of bowel cancer diagnosed as emergency

OVER a quarter of bowel cancer patients in England are diagnosed at emergency admission to hospital, according to the National Bowel Cancer Audit.

About 8,000 out of 31,000 bowel cancer patients were admitted as emergency cases over a 12-month period between August 2009 and July 2010. The report also suggests that diagnosis upon emergency admission was most common among older people aged 85 and over, deprived patients and women.

These patients are also less likely to have surgery than those whose first admission was not as an emergency case. The report shows 59 per cent of emergency patients had surgical intervention which is lower than for non-emergency patients of whom 76 per cent had surgical intervention. This is likely to reflect the fact that emergency patients tend to have a more advanced stage of cancer on admission.

Professor Paul Finan, clinical lead for the audit said: "The National Bowel Cancer Audit has, over the years, proved invaluable for all those charged with managing patients with bowel cancer. This additional work, combining voluntarily submitted audit data with routinely collected HES returns, offers a more complete picture of management across England. Lessons can be learnt from observed differences and are likely to lead to improvements in the diagnosis and treatment of patients."


National Bowel Cancer Audit Report 2011

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