Health

April 20, 2024

Scientific analysis shows bowel cancer deaths to explode by 2040 

Scientific analysis shows bowel cancer deaths to explode by 2040 

By Shola Ogundipe

A new scientific analysis shows that bowel cancer deaths are expected to increase by 2,500 per year by 2040. Experts believe the growing elderly population is the primary driver of the increase, but they admit there are rising numbers among the young.

Obesity, excessive red meat consumption, and a lack of fibre can all contribute to the disease.

The Bowelbabe Fund, established in memory of Deborah James, released an analysis projecting that if current trends continue, bowel cancer cases will rise from 42,800 to 47,700.

Cancer Research UK stated that the figures are a stark reminder of the ongoing need for life-saving cancer research.

As a result of Dame Deborah’s ardent support, the Bowelbabe Fund for Cancer Research UK was established in May 2022 to carry on her legacy. The fund has committed £10 million to support seven innovative projects that are helping to give more people more time with the people they love, after raising £13 million to fight bowel cancer.

In line with this, £5 million has been committed over the following five years to support PROSPECT, the Cancer Grand Challenges team investigating early-onset bowel cancer.

Deborah was only 35 years old when she was diagnosed with bowel cancer, a type of cancer that is on the rise but is poorly understood.

Beth Vincent, health information manager at Cancer Research UK, said: “It’s important to remember that cancer is primarily a disease of older age, with the majority of new cancer cases being diagnosed in those aged 50 and above. There are no definite figures for Nigeria, but the predicted rise in people being diagnosed with bowel cancer in the UK can largely be explained by the growing and ageing population.

“Globally and in the UK we’re seeing a small increase in rates of early onset bowel cancer, affecting people aged 25-49.  Whilst the number of cases looks very big, this increase is partly due to population growth — though this doesn’t change how difficult it is for those who are diagnosed with cancer.

“No matter how old you are, if you notice any changes that are not normal for you, or something that won’t go away, don’t ignore it, speak to your doctor. In most cases, it won’t be cancer, but if it is, spotting it early can make a real difference.’ 

Bowel cancer prevention tips:

* Dietary focus: Emphasize fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. Limit red and processed meats.

* Maintain a healthy weight: Being overweight or obese increases the risk.

* Be active: Regular exercise is beneficial.

 * Limit alcohol consumption: Excessive alcohol intake can raise your risk.

 * Don’t smoke: Smoking is a major risk factor.

 * Get regular screenings: Early detection is key. Consult your doctor about screening options.

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