Our work in Northern Ireland
Bowel cancer is the fourth most common cancer in Northern Ireland and the second biggest cancer killer. Every year more than 1,200 people are diagnosed with bowel cancer in Northern Ireland and more than 460 people die from the disease. However bowel cancer is treatable and curable especially if diagnosed early.
We undertake a range of activities in Northern Ireland as part of our work to save lives and improve the quality of life for all those affected by bowel cancer.
We raise awareness
A key part of our work in Northern Ireland is delivering bowel health and screening talks. This is an ideal way to raise awareness of Northern Ireland's second biggest cancer killer and encourage good bowel health.
Volunteers in Northern Ireland, who've been affected by bowel cancer in some way, deliver online bowel cancer awareness talks to workplaces and community groups, helping people to understand the signs, symptoms, and risk factors, as well as the importance of screening. Find out more and book a talk.
We provide information and support
We publish a wide range of free patient information covering all aspects of bowel cancer; from treatment and surgery to dietary advice and much more. Our booklets and factsheets are used by many hospitals and are given to patients when they're newly diagnosed or at certain points throughout the course of their treatment. For more information on how to download or order our information, click here.
We educate healthcare professionals
Our training and education equips healthcare professionals with the knowledge and confidence to support early diagnosis and best treatment and care. We have delivered a wide range of training and education across Northern Ireland – including GP study evenings, nurse study days and bowel health and screening workshops.
- Dr Kevin Barrett - IBD flare management in Primary Care and supporting patients with IBD
- Mr Tim McAdam - Assessing potential bowel cancer symptoms – when to refer?
- Dr Martin Eatock - Update on Pancreatic Cancer
Over 40 GPs attended the event and we found that 100% of attendees found the course useful or very useful, and 97% said that they could apply the knowledge learned. To find out more about our GP study evenings please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
We campaign to improve early diagnosis of bowel cancer and access to best treatment and care and we've had a number of successes. Our flagship Never Too Young campaign has changed GP referral guidelines to include younger people for the first time.
We also successfully campaigned for the introduction of NICE guidelines recommending testing for signs of Lynch syndrome in all bowel cancer patients. Lynch syndrome can raise the risk of bowel cancer to up to 80%. We recently asked all hospitals in the UK if they're testing all bowel cancer patients for Lynch syndrome at the point of diagnosis. Up until November 2019 only the Western Trust in Northern Ireland was testing every bowel cancer patient at diagnosis but now all health trusts across Northern Ireland have implemented testing. A lack of funding and resource is a key barrier to implementation and so we're calling for the Health and Social Care Board and the Department of Health to consider accelerating adoption of the NICE guideline.
In June 2019, as part of a week of action, we took our #TimetoTest petition to Stormont, calling for better identification and management of people with Lynch syndrome.
Northern Ireland Cancer Strategy
In January 2018, we attended the Northern Ireland Assembly All Party Group on Cancer to highlight the need for a cancer strategy in Northern Ireland and to talk about our work in Northern Ireland with MLAs.
In March 2019 we welcomed the announcement by the Department of Health to commission a new cancer strategy for Northern Ireland. We said: "We strongly feel that the strategy must include a firm commitment to introduce the new, more accurate bowel cancer screening test, the Faecal Immunochemical Test (FIT) and to reduce the screening age to 50. Northern Ireland is the only UK nation not to have made these commitments yet this will be a game changer for bowel cancer screening and has the potential to save many lives.
"The cancer strategy must also provide a review of current diagnostic workforce capacity followed by a fully funded plan to address any potential staff shortages in endoscopy and pathology services to ensure that the bowel cancer screening programme can be optimised.
"The new strategy must be accompanied with the appropriate leadership and funding to address challenges facing bowel cancer services in Northern Ireland. We look forward to working supportively with the Northern Ireland government and other health bodies to ensure successful development and implementation of this important cancer strategy."
Northern Ireland Bowel Cancer Screening Programme
We encourage people to take part in the bowel cancer screening programme. In Northern Ireland the bowel cancer screening programme is available to all 60-74 year olds. Uptake rate is currently 60% but we need to do better. Thousands of people are missing out on the chance to detect bowel cancer early when it is easier to treat. Our awareness talks encourage people to take part in screening by talking to them about the benefits and explaining how to do the test. Find out more about bowel screening in Northern Ireland.
Become a campaign supporter
You can campaign with us and sign up as a campaign supporter to help us improve early diagnosis and access to best treatment and care for all those affected. Sign up and support our campaigns.
We're determined to help save lives but we can't do this without you. There are lots of ways you can support us in Northern Ireland and help fund vital services and lifesaving research to save lives and improve the quality of life of everyone affected by bowel cancer.
One wonderful woman, Rosi Kirker Miller, championed the cause to raise awareness in Northern Ireland. She tirelessly campaigned for greater awareness of bowel cancer and better screening despite knowing she could not be cured. Sadly, Rosi passed away but her family and friends have continued to support us and raise awareness and funds.
Here are some of the ways that you can join us:
There are lots of ways you can support us in Northern Ireland and help us to stop bowel cancer. Join our team to run, cycle, abseil, skydive or bake a cake, and we'll support you all the way. Contact us at email@example.com or find an event near you using the link below.