Cancer is a major cause of death, accounting for around a quarter of deaths in England. More than 1 in 3 people will develop cancer at some point in their life. In January 2011 the Government published Improving Outcomes – a Strategy for Cancer. This document sets out how the Government plans to improve cancer outcomes, including improving survival rates through tackling late diagnosis of cancer. The inclusion of the above indicators will provide an opportunity to incentivize screening promotion and other local initiatives to increase coverage of cancer screening. Improvements in coverage would mean more cancers are detected at earlier, more treatable stages.
Breast screening supports early detection of cancer and is estimated to save 1,400 lives in England each year. Cervical cancer screening supports detection of symptoms that may become cancer and is estimated to save 4,500 lives in England each year.
About one in 20 people in the UK will develop bowel cancer during their lifetime. It is the third most common cancer in the UK, and the second leading cause of cancer deaths, with over 16,000 people dying from it each year. Regular bowel cancer screening has been shown to reduce the risk of dying from bowel cancer by 16%. Bowel cancer screening aims to detect bowel cancer at an early stage (in people with no symptoms), when treatment is more likely to be effective. Bowel cancer screening can also detect polyps. These are not cancers, but may develop into cancers over time. They can easily be removed, reducing the risk of bowel cancer developing.