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23 April 2015, 06:41
Fewer than half of the people with bowel cancer in Hertfordshire are being diagnosed early and there are warnings it is putting lives at risk.
Only around 49% of people with the disease are getting an early diagnosis according to the charity Beating Bowel Cancer.
It says bowel cancer is the second biggest cancer killer but survival rates can be as high as 97% if it is caught early. However, if it is not they can be as low as 7%.
The charity is calling for better screening as well as greater awareness of the signs and symptoms.
Chief Executive of Beating Bowel Cancer, Mark Flannaghan, said: "The later you're diagnosed the more difficult it is to treat, the more invasive it is to treat.
"The key message is don't be afraid, don't sit on your symptoms.
"If you move the screening age in England down to 50 you will save more lives, you will spot more bowel cancer.
"We also need to get to a situation where no-one with the symptoms of bowel cancer is turned away. We need to help GPs do better and improve their guidance so they find it easier to refer someone with bowel cancer symptoms."