One in two people are diagnosed with cancer in their lifetime. Breast, prostate, lung and bowel are the top four most common cancers in the UK, causing over 45% of deaths from the disease.
Each year, 4 in 10 cases of cancer could be prevented, and death rates are higher in deprived areas. The biggest causes of cancer are lifestyle factors including smoking, diet, weight, and obesity. In the UK, bowel cancer accounts for 11% of all new cancer cases (which is approximately 42,000 new cases per year), representing a cost to the economy of £1.74 billion. There are approximately 46 deaths from bowel cancer every day. Through routine screening and earlier diagnosis, 54% of bowel cancer cases in the UK are preventable.
The NHS now distributes free Faecal Immunochemical Test (FIT) kits to people aged 50 to 74 in England who are registered with a GP practice. Increased FIT kit completion promotes earlier detection of bowel cancer at stages 1-2 rather than 3-4, supporting better health outcomes and lower treatment costs. Some patient groups have persistently lower uptake than the rest of the population; these include non-white people, those for whom English isn’t their first language, people with a severe mental health condition, and those with learning disabilities.
With a national target of 75%, the pre-covid return rate of FIT kits in South East London was 56%. In partnership with South East Cancer Alliance, iPLATO is working to improve bowel cancer screening rated across the area.
- SMS reminder alone generated 5.6% increase in bowel cancer screening uptake
- Data collection through digital Patient Questionnaires average response rate of 14%