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Hospital fails to meet bowel cancer targets

Published on 04 May 2017 back to previous

Torbay Hospital has been identified as one of 30 south of England hospitals which has failed to meet its bowel cancer testing targets.

Fewer than one per cent of patients in need of tests that could diagnose bowel cancer should have to wait more than six weeks.

Figures released by NHS England for February revealed that of the 48 people on the waiting list for flexible sigmoidoscopy tests just one breached the six-week waiting limit but that amounts to 2.1 per cent and breaches the target.

That compares to one hospital which breached the target by 62 per cent and others by 32 per cent and 15 per cent.

Asha Kaur, head of policy at Bowel Cancer UK, said: “These figures are very disappointing.

“It is unacceptable that patients are being made to wait more than six weeks for endoscopy tests.

“How soon someone is seen determines how early a diagnosis can be made.

“We know that if diagnosed at the earliest stage more than nine in 10 will survive for five years or more. However, this drops significantly as the disease develops.”

The two key tests to diagnose bowel cancer are colonoscopy and flexible sigmoidoscopy – a camera on a thin, flexible cable inserted through the anus to look at different parts of the bowel. These tests are known as endoscopy procedures.

These tests can detect cancer at the earliest stage of the disease, when it is more treatable, and even prevent cancer through the removal of pre-cancerous growths during the procedures. Nearly everyone diagnosed at the earliest stage of bowel cancer will survive but this drops significantly as the disease develops, so getting timely access to these tests is vital.

More than 15,900 people die from bowel cancer every year in the UK. It’s the nation’s second biggest cancer killer and the fourth most common cancer. However, it shouldn’t be. It’s treatable and curable, especially if diagnosed early.

This article was sourced from Totnes Times. Click here to read the full article.

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