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Actor Ben Richards becomes a patron

Tuesday, April 02, 2013

As Bowel Cancer Awareness Month gets underway this April, Bowel Cancer UK is delighted to announce a new patron for the charity - actor Ben Richards, known to millions through his roles in The Bill and Footballers' Wives.

Now in remission, 40 year old Ben was diagnosed with bowel cancer in January 2012 - when he got the shocking news that he had a 6cm cancerous tumour.

"We're thrilled that Ben has agreed to be a patron of the charity", commented Deborah Alsina, CEO of Bowel Cancer UK.  "We've just launched a campaign called 'Never Too Young' to highlight the issues confronting younger people with bowel cancer, and with Ben's help, we can encourage more people to recognise the symptoms, visit their GP and ultimately, save lives.  Early diagnosis is key."

Despite symptoms which lasted for about five months, such as blood in his stools, Ben had put off seeing his GP. "I was being a typical bloke," he said. Two days later he got the "bolt out of the blue" diagnosis. He is hoping that by speaking out about his illness, Ben will encourage others to visit their GPs, too.

Following his diagnosis, Ben underwent chemotherapy and radiotherapy, surgery and then a further operation following complications - just weeks before embarking on a national theatre tour last year, performing in up to nine shows a week of the hit musical, 9 to 5.

Ben said: "Too many younger people like me are getting bowel cancer.  I'm really looking forward to working with Bowel Cancer UK, making more people aware of the issues that younger patients face and encouraging them to visit their GP, even when they only have one of the symptoms."

Ben has also been supporting our Never too young campaign to raise awareness of bowel cancer in patients under the age of 50.