Bowel cancer patients in Wales wait longer for treatment than anywhere else in UK study finds

Patients in Wales who have bowel cancer face a longer wait for treatment compared to England, Scotland, and Northern Ireland.

A new international study found people in Wales waited on average 168 days between first noticing a change in their health and receiving treatment. It was the longest waiting time recorded in the study.

In England patients faced an average 145 day wait. Scotland was typically 120 days, and those in Northern Ireland waited 138 days.

The report published by Cancer Research UK found that 10% of patients can be left waiting more than a year before receiving treatment. Researchers said longer waits for treatment can increase patient anxiety and even impact on the success of treatment.

The study compared the medical records of 2866 patients.

In response to the findings, the Welsh Government said it is "taking action" to improve initial detection of the cancer. Last week Health Secretary Vaughan Gething announced additional funding to go into cancer pathways next year.

Wales also recorded the longest wait to receive a diagnosis for bowel cancer, 60 days on average compared with 48 days in England. While patients in Wales took the longest to contact their doctor one they'd noticed a health concern or symptom.

The study tracked 2866 patients diagnosed with the cancer between 2013 and 2015. The full findings will be published in the British Medical Journal.