While bowel cancer is traditionally associated with old age, rates among under-30s have soared in the last decade. Over 75% of cases are found in people over 65, however, the number of cases in young people has increased by 120% in the last 10 years.
Experts are unsure why bowel cancer is on the rise among younger people, though high-calorie, fatty diets are suspected to be partly to blame.
A man’s disease?
Recently released figures from Cancer Research UK show bowel cancer rates among men have risen nearly 30% over the last 35 years. Women, however, have seen only a 6% increase during the same period.
The number of cases has climbed from 45 cases per 100,000 men in 1975-77 to 58 cases in 2008-10, an overall rise of 29 per cent. But in women cases have only increased very slightly from 35 to 37 per 100,000 in the same time period. Researchers, however, are unsure why more men than women are affected.
The largest rise in those diagnosed with the disease has been among people in their 60s and 70s, with more than 23,000 now diagnosed each year.
These domestic figures appear to mirror an international trend. Claims data from specialist international health insurers, William Russell, show that 95.4% of the claims received over the past 5 years for bowel cancer have been made by male clients.
Bowel cancer month
Bowel cancer is the second biggest cause of cancer deaths in UK behind lung cancer. April has been designated bowel cancer awareness month to encourage fundraising for disease research and to help educate people on the signs and symptoms of this disease.