Bowel cancer care set to benefit from new advances in national audit data

About a quarter of bowel cancer patients in England are only diagnosed with the disease after an emergency admission to hospital, new advanced research from a national audit has found.

This equates to about 8,000 out of 31,000 patients admitted in a 12 month period, whose records were analysed by the National Bowel Cancer Audit and linked for the first time with hospital data (Hospital Episode Statistics).

These patients are less likely to have surgery than those whose first admission was not an emergency case according to today’s supplementary report, which was commissioned by the Healthcare Quality Improvement Partnership and developed by the Association of Coloproctology of Great Britain and Ireland, the Royal College of Surgeons of England and the Health and Social Care Information Centre.

Today’s finding about diagnosis upon emergency admission is in keeping with research6 by the National Cancer Intelligence Network about bowel cancer, which is diagnosed in about 31,000 people each year in England and Wales and is the second most common cause of cancer death.

The report suggests that between August 2009 and July 2010, diagnosis upon emergency admission was most common among:

Older people aged 85 and over – accounting for 47 per cent (1,690) of 3,580 patients of this age (the lowest prevalence was among those under 75, at 19 per cent (3,450) of 18,070 patients).
More deprived patients (based on the multiple index of deprivation; on a scale from 1 – the most deprived, to 5 – the least deprived). The percentage gradually increased from 22 per cent (1,410) of the 6,550 least deprived to 30 per cent (1,470) of the 4,940 most deprived.
Women – at 28 per cent (3,820) of 13,570 patients (for men, this figure was 22 per cent (3,870) of 17,240 patients).

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