Research by an international team of scientists has revealed that the UK’s bowel cancer death rate is falling faster than most other European countries.

According to data recorded between 1989 and 2011 across 34 European countries, bowel cancer death rates increased by an average of six percent for men whilst decreasing by an average of 15 percent for women. In the UK, bowel cancer mortality rates fell by 25 percent in men and 30 percent in women.

The study, which was published in the British Medical Journal, suggests that high levels of screening, particularly endoscopic screening, have helped to increase survival rates. Cancer Research UK also believes that the fall in death rates is linked to better treatment and greater symptom awareness.

Bowel cancer is one of the most common types of cancer in the UK. Around one in every 20 people in the UK will develop bowel cancer during their lifetime and around 40,000 new bowel cancer cases are diagnosed each year.

Kiran Jalota, a senior clinical negligence solicitor based in Thompsons Solicitors’ Birmingham office, said: “It is extremely encouraging to learn that the UK’s bowel cancer survival rates are improving far above European averages.

“From our experience working with cancer patients who have suffered a delay in diagnosis, we know that early diagnosis is key to a patient’s prognosis so we are not surprised that screening has made a significant contribution to improving bowel cancer survival rates in the UK.

“To see all cancer survival rates improve at the same rate as bowel cancer, the government must put its hand in its pocket and properly resource diagnostic equipment, cancer services and the NHS, or else the UK will continue to lag behind its European counterparts in the majority of cancer fields.”