Help us to stop bowel cancer

Our history

1987

  • Patrick Dolan sets up The Britta Dolan Memorial Cancer Fund, after his wife, Britta Dolan, dies from bowel cancer. Patrick was frustrated with the lack of treatment options and support for bowel cancer patients in the UK, which meant he had to turn to specialists in America.
  • With the support of colleagues and friends, Patrick raised the equivalent of half a million pounds in donations of hepatic pumps and chemotherapy supplies and obtains financial support for Dr Tim Allen-Mersh and a research nurse to undertake clinical trials in the UK.
 

1994

  • Dr Allen-Mersh publishes key research findings into the importance of treatment for liver metastases in bowel cancer patients. 
  • Our research nurses receive an increasing numbers of enquiries from people newly diagnosed who were confused and unsure of how to approach and question their doctors.
 

1997

  • The charity was renamed Colon Cancer Concern (CCC). 
  • A 24-hour information line is set up to help answer the growing number of enquiries about bowel cancer, operated by trained volunteers.
 

2000

 
  • The information line becomes staffed by professional colorectal, stoma and oncology nurses.
 

2002

  • We organise an ambitious national roadshow "Don't Blush Look Before You Flush"; reaching 15 towns and cities over a six week period.
 

2004

  • We are awarded a National Lottery Community Fund Grant, which funds three major awareness campaigns amongst larger employee workplaces, in pubs and in doctors' surgeries. 
 

2005

  • We change our name to Bowel Cancer UK to convey the national nature of our work and reflect the increasingly widespread use of the term bowel cancer to describe the disease.
  • We open an office in Edinburgh. 
 
 

2008

  • We win a number of awards for our work in support of patients' campaigning for greater access to treatments.
  • We win the first ever European grant made by the US based Amgen Foundation, to help raise awareness of the disease amongst BME communities and increase their take up of screening.
 

2009

  • We employ our first specialist health promotion and training staff in England and Scotland and pilot our first health professionals.
 

2010

  • We begin working in Northern Ireland and raise funds to employ a specialist health promotion and training officer. 
  • Our volunteer outreach programme launches across the UK, where survivors of bowel cancer are trained to deliver awareness talks. 
 

2011

  • We act as advisors on the Department of Health’s flagship Be Clear on Cancer campaign and produce a GP information toolkit which is distributed across England.
  • Lord Norman Foster, the eminent architect, becomes an ambassador for the charity.
  • We gain Information Standard accreditation for our health information.
 

2012

  • We celebrate our 25th anniversary with a reception hosted by Samantha Cameron at 10 Downing Street attended by patrons Julia Bradbury, Aldo Zilli, Tom Hardy and Charlotte Riley. 
  • We deliver our first clinical training events – GP study days in Manchester and Birmingham and a nurse study day in Stirling, Scotland.
  • We publish our 2025 policy vision report.
  • Our volunteer programme expands rapidly to around 100 people across the UK.
 

2013

  • We launch our Never Too Young campaign to improve the diagnosis, treatment and care of younger bowel cancer patients.
  • We act as advisors and support implementation of Scotland’s flagship Detect Cancer Early campaign.
  • We co-deliver, with the Roy Castle Lung Foundation, seven GP training sessions on screening.
  • We launch our endoscopy campaign to help address the UK’s lack of capacity which is a huge barrier to early diagnosis.
 

2014

  • Following a strategic review, we close our telephone and email information and support service to focus on education and campaigning.
  • We release our second endoscopy report and Never Too Young briefing on the identification of people at high risk of bowel cancer and surveillance screening.
  • Colon Cancer Alliance, our partner charity in the US, join the Never Too Young campaign and launch in their country.
  • We win a British Medical Association (BMA) Patient Information Award for our learning disability resource. 
 

2015

  • We announce our ambitious and bold move into research. 
  • Bowel Cancer Australia and the Colon Cancer Association of Canada join the Never Too Young campaign and launch in their own countries.
  • We join the Get Tested campaign on improving access to biomarker testing. 
  • We win a BMA Patient Information Award for our resource ‘Your diet: living with and beyond bowel cancer’ and publish a new booklet for younger patients ‘Younger people with bowel cancer: a guide for the over 50s’ as well as several films.
  • We gain Royal Society of Public Health accreditation for our volunteer outreach programme.
 

2016

  • On World Cancer Day we publish our 2016 research strategy and launch a new research project which will bring together 100 clinicians and scientists to identify gaps in current research into bowel cancer which, if addressed, will help save the lives of thousands of people diagnosed with the disease.