ALTHOUGH the one-year survival rate for bowel cancer patients on the Isle of Wight has improved, Bowel Cancer UK has warned the levels across England could drop to those of a decade ago due to disruption caused by the pandemic.

With Bowel Cancer Awareness Month underway, this could potentially have "devastating consequences" for some patients, the charity has said.

Isle of Wight County Press:

Public Health England (PHE) figures show adults aged between 15 and 99 in the NHS Isle of Wight clinical commissioning group area, had an 82.1 per cent chance of surviving for one year following a bowel cancer diagnosis in 2018 — the most recent year available.

This was up from 80.4 per cent the year before — a vast improvement on the 73 per cent figure of 2003, when such records began.

Isle of Wight patients have survival rates higher than the 80.7 perc cent average across England.

Isle of Wight County Press:

Though the highest figure on record, this national measure varies widely across the country — from as low as 70 per cent in Leicester, to as high as 88 per cent in the London borough of Harrow.

This 18 per cent gap marks the eighth consecutive increase — and is the largest since 2003, which Bowel Cancer UK described as being incredibly concerning.

Bowel Cancer UK's chief executive, Genevieve Edwards, said the disease is treatable and curable if diagnosed early, but almost half a million people in England are still waiting for a test to confirm if they have it or not.

She said: "Delays like this can lead to poorer outcomes for bowel cancer patients and potentially cost lives.

"The Government must increase endoscopy capacity in the NHS by providing urgent multi-year investment to grow its workforce, provide new equipment and improve pathways to bring waiting times under control, which will ultimately save more lives.”

The PHE figures also show the five-year survival rate for bowel cancer patients falls to 64.1 per cent across Wessex — and 58.9 per cent over ten years.

A recent report by the Institute for Public Policy Research, warned disruption to health care, amid the pandemic, could see bowel cancer survival rates return to those last seen in 2010.

Ms Edwards added: "We know NHS staff continue to work incredibly hard to keep cancer services going, but the severe disruption over the last 12 months has led to many having their treatment delayed or cancelled — sometimes with devastating consequences."

Around six in ten new cases of the disease are diagnosed in people aged 70 or over, according to the charity, but bowel cancer can affect anyone of any age.

Bowel Cancer Awareness Month, in April, is an annual campaign to increase the public's understanding of the UK’s second biggest cancer killer.