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Bowel cancer risk has doubled

27th July 2011

According to data from Cancer Research UK the risk of a man in the UK developing bowel cancer has increased to one in 15.

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In 1975, a man's lifetime risk was one in 29. A woman's risk has increased from one in 29 to one in 19.

A major factor in the increase in risk is that people are living for longer than they did in the 1970s.

Other factors include obesity, higher alcohol consumption and less exercise.

The author of the study, Professor Peter Sasieni, said the data was collected as part of a "more accurate" method of calculating cancer risk.

He said: "As people are living longer the numbers getting cancer have increased and the lifetime risk of developing bowel cancer has gone up."

Data has shown that a man who celebrated his 65th birthday in 1981 would live for another 13.0 years on average. However a man who turns 65 in 2011 will live an average of another 18.6 years.

Jessica Harris, a health information officer at the charity, said people living longer was not the only factor contributing to the rise.

She said: "More and more people are overweight or obese than they were in the past. We know that most people are not getting the recommended level of physical activity. And we know that lots of people exceed the recommended limits of alcohol consumption." 

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