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Deprivation a main indicator of the likelihood of death in colon cancer patients

Findings suggest screening programmes to target poorer populations to enable earlier diagnosis would be advantageous

Findings suggest screening programmes to target poorer populations to enable earlier diagnosis would be advantageous


Picture: SPL

Research has found that patients from poorer backgrounds in England with colon cancer are still more likely to die.

Data from national cancer registry records, a national bowel cancer clinical audit and NHS Digital’s hospital episodes statistics, and involving 69,769 adults diagnosed with cancer between 1 January 2010 and 31 March 2013, were analysed. 

Results show estimations between deprivation and the probability of death within 90 days of diagnosis. For both male and female patients, regardless of age and the stage of diagnosis, the likelihood of death intensified with increasing deprivation.

The findings of this study, by researchers from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, suggests it would be advantageous to consider various approaches to diagnose and treat this condition of patients.

Such measures might include: national health screening programmes that target the more economically deprived populations to enable quick and earlier diagnosis; more determined decision making and scheduling of prospective treatment, such as surgery, to account for the influence of more than one disease; and more rigorous post-operative care and monitoring of vulnerable populations.

Fowler H, Belot A, Njagi EN et al (2017) Persistent inequalities in 90-day colon cancer mortality: an English cohort study. British Journal of Cancer. 117, 9, 1396-1404.


Compiled by Dion Smyth, lecturer-practitioner in cancer and palliative care, Birmingham City University

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