JUNK food and booze are fuelling the fastest rise in bowel cancer deaths, a study suggests.
Italian researchers predict UK deaths will jump 26 per cent in men and 39 per cent in women aged 25 to 49 in Britain this year compared to 2018 — the largest increase on the continent.
Colon cancer, computer illustration.[/caption]
He said: “Additional reasons are increases in heavier alcohol drinking over time in central and northern Europe and the UK, and reductions in physical activity.
“Countries where there has been a reduction in alcohol consumption, such as France and Italy, have not experienced such marked rises in death rates from this cancer.
“Early onset bowel cancer tends to be more aggressive, with lower survival rates, compared to bowel cancer that is diagnosed in older people.”
Bowel cancer is now the third most common cancer in Britain, with 41,596 Brits diagnosed in 2021.
It is the UK’s second deadliest cancer, claiming 16,000 lives each year.
However, nine in 10 patients survives it if diagnosed at the earliest stage, according to Bowel Cancer UK.
The study, published in Annals of Oncology, analysed death rates in the UK and the EU 27 member states to predict where they will be this year.
Compared to 2018, overall death rates are expected to fall by 3 per cent to 14 per 100,000 in men and stay at around 10 per 100,000 in women in Britain.
In the EU, rates are expected to fall 5 per cent to 15 per 100,000 in men and 9 per cent to 8 per 100,000 in women.
But rates in under-50s — who are normally less likely to get the disease — are on the up.
The increased mortality among young people is a concern
Carlo La Vecchia
Professor La Vecchia said: “These overall favourable trends can be explained by improved diagnosis and treatment of bowel cancer.
“Death rates tended to decrease in countries with better access to screening and early diagnosis. However, the increased mortality among young people is a concern.
“National governments should consider strengthening policies to encourage increased physical activity, a reduction in the number of people who are overweight or obese, and a reduction in alcohol consumption.
“In terms of prevention, governments should consider the extension of screening for bowel cancer to younger ages, starting at ages 45 years.”
What are the symptoms of bowel cancer?
Symptoms of bowel cancer may include:
- changes in your poo, such as having softer poo, diarrhoea or constipation that is not usual for you
- needing to poo more or less often than usual for you
- blood in your poo, which may look red or black
- bleeding from your bottom
- often feeling like you need to poo, even if you’ve just been to the toilet
- tummy pain
- losing weight without trying
- feeling very tired for no reason
Source: The NHS