King's improves survival rates for bowel cancer patients

14 July 2022 - Bowel cancer specialists at King's recognised for their work boosting survival rates

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Bowel cancer specialists across King’s College Hospital NHS Foundation Trust have been recognised by the National Bowel Cancer Audit (NBCA) for boosting survival rates for patients diagnosed with bowel cancer.

The latest annual report from the NBCA - which measures the quality of care and outcomes of bowel cancer patients in England - revealed that more patients across the Trust are being diagnosed early and receiving timely treatment.

Bowel cancer is the second biggest cause of cancer deaths in the UK but it can be treatable and cured, if diagnosed early. The NHS bowel cancer screening programme in England is available to people aged 56 to 74, but those presenting symptoms, such as change in bowel habits, abdominal pain and unintentional weight loss, are strongly encouraged to speak to their GP.

The bowel cancer screening programme at the Trust is run by a multidisciplinary team of doctors, specialist nurses and administrative staff. Most cancers diagnosed through screening are early-stage cancers where the 5-year survival rate is 95%.

The NBCA report also revealed that fewer patients across King’s College Hospital (11%) and the Princess Royal University Hospital (10%) – sites managed by the Trust - had urgent or emergency bowel surgery compared to the national average (21%) - indicating that patient’s cancer has been identified and treated early.

As more bowel cancer patients across the Trust are receiving an early diagnosis and being treated quickly, survival rates in the 90 days after endoscopic surgery to remove the cancer, has also improved.

The report highlighted that the Trust has also assigned the majority of its bowel cancer patients to a clinical nurse specialist, who offer practical and emotional support.

A King’s College Hospital patient who was diagnosed with early-stage bowel cancer through screening has reflected on the care they received and said: “The screening programme saved my life – or at least meant that my cancer was caught early.”

“The follow up after my diagnosis was extremely swift and the support whilst waiting to find out if the cancer had spread was excellent. I shall forever be extremely grateful to the staff at King’s and will ensure I encourage friends and family to attend their screening.”

Guy Chung-Faye, consultant gastroenterologist and director of the bowel cancer screening programme at King’s College Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, said: “It’s great to hear that our cancer specialists who are responsible for screening and delivering treatment has been recognised for the exceptional care and treatment they provide to our patients.”

“Bowel screening really does save lives. It can detect cancer early and mean your treatment is more effective. I would urge those who have been invited to please make every effort to attend your screening test.

“It’s also important to be aware of changes to your body's normal processes as these can sometimes be an early sign of cancer. If you notice something that isn't normal for you, you should speak to your GP.”