Our work in Scotland
Bowel cancer is the fourth most common cancer in Scotland. However, bowel cancer is treatable and curable especially if diagnosed early. We undertake a range of activities in Scotland as part of our work to save lives.
We raise awareness
Volunteers in Scotland, who have 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 are newly diagnosed or at certain points throughout the course of their treatment. For information on how to download or order our information, click here.
We educate professionals about the disease
Our training and education equips healthcare professionals with the knowledge and confidence to support early diagnosis and best treatment and care.
We offer online and face-to-face education for healthcare professionals interested developing their professional practice. In Scotland we have delivered a wide range of training– including colorectal nurse study days and GP masterclasses. With the support of the Scottish Government, we also delivered training to learning disability healthcare professionals on screening and bowel cancer awareness. For more information, click here.
We work closely with healthcare professionals
We're passionate about working closely with healthcare professionals to improve outcomes and enhance care for people with bowel cancer.
We're here to support the Scottish Colorectal Cancer Nurses Network and encourage all colorectal nurses in Scotland to join. Membership is free and the opportunity to join a strong and determined community working to improve the lives of people affected by bowel cancer. Click here to join.
We're committed to working closely with healthcare professionals on the development of our services, expert information and support. There are lots of ways to get involved, from volunteering your time at an event to reviewing our health information and giving us your feedback on our work.
Information resources – from diagnosis and treatment to living with and beyond bowel cancer
Download this handy briefing sheet for healthcare professionals in Scotland supporting people affected by bowel cancer.
Our campaigning and policy work covers issues affecting people right across the UK and we include the experience of people in Scotland in all our work. You can sign up to become a campaign supporter here.
Early diagnosis can improve outcomes for patients but accessing colonoscopies in a timely manner has been a challenge across Scotland. In November 2021, following our work with NHS Scotland and the Scottish Government, a 'Recovery and Renewal Plan' for endoscopy services in Scotland was published. The plan seeks to address issues in endoscopy services by focusing on the following five areas:
- balancing demand and capacity
- optimising clinical pathways
- improving quality and efficiency
- workforce training and development
- infrastructure, innovation and design
We now sit on the national oversight group (Endoscopy and Urology Diagnostic Elective Care Group) that's charged with implementing the actions outlined in the 'Recovery and Renewal Plan.' You can read more about the publication of this plan here.
Our 'Time to Test' campaigning work in Scotland, which focused on Lynch syndrome, found that only three health boards (21%) followed best practice to test all bowel cancer patients for Lynch syndrome at the point of their diagnosis in 2019.
In June of that year, as part of a week of action, we took our #TimetoTest petition to Scottish Parliament, calling for better identification and management of people with Lynch syndrome.
In 2022, as part of our work to ensure bowel cancer patients are tested for Lynch syndrome at the point of their diagnosis, we're engaging with the Scottish Government and NHS Scotland to understand current practice across the country and supporting health boards to adopt best practice where required.
Colon Capsule Endoscopy (CCE)
Scotland has been leading the way within the UK on the introduction of CCE into diagnostic pathways. This diagnostic technique involves patients swallowing a pill containing a camera (Pillcam) to take pictures of their digestive tract which can help clinicians better understand a patient's bowel health.
Following an initial trial in NHS Highlands, a decision was taken to rollout CCE across the nation's health boards. We sit on the SCOTCAP Project Board ensuring the voice of patients is at the heart of this work.
In February 2022, Scotland saw the 2,000th patient to benefit from access to CCE. In April 2022 we'll help launch the Colon Capsule Endoscopy International Conference 2022 in Edinburgh.
We work with others
We're passionate about collaborating and working with others to improve outcomes for people with cancer and are involved in a number of groups and boards.
We have representations on a number of groups including:
- The Scottish Cancer Coalition
- Scottish Cancer Coalition's Medicines Subgroup
- Scottish Parliament's Cross Party Group on Cancer
- Bowel Screening Programme Board
- Endoscopy and Urology Diagnostic Elective Care Group
- SCOTCAP Project Board
- The Scottish Cancer Prevention Network
- The Scottish Health Technologies Group
For more information and to feed in any issues through these groups, contact Gerard McMahon, Head of External Affairs (Devolved Nations).
We encourage people to take part in bowel screening
Bowel cancer screening can save lives but at the moment in some areas of the UK only a third of those who receive a test complete it. Thousands of people are missing out on the chance to detect bowel cancer early when it's easier to treat. Find out more about bowel screening in Scotland.
We're determined to save lives but we can't do this without you. There are lots of ways you can support us in Scotland and help fund vital services and lifesaving research to save lives and improve the quality of life of everyone affected by bowel cancer. Find out more about how to get involved.
Improving Surgery, Saving Lives appeal
In partnership with the Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh, we've committed to investing £430,000 into a Research Chair position based in Scotland. Scotland's first Colorectal Cancer Surgical Research Chair will help to ensure that bowel cancer patients have access to surgical clinical trials, receive the best possible surgical treatment, and can benefit from improved surgical outcomes over the long term.
The post holder will be a leading surgeon in their field and be based at a leading research-active university in Scotland. This appointment forms a key part of our aim to provide solutions that directly lead to a reduction in the number of deaths from the disease and drive improvements in quality of life where a cure is not possible.
Thank you to all of our donors who are supporting the appeal, if you'd like to learn more please email email@example.com
Rangers Charity Foundation
We're proud to partner with Rangers Charity Foundation to raise awareness of bowel cancer – Scotland's second biggest cancer killer – among the club's fans, players and staff. The Foundation has pledged to raise £25,000 for our work in Scotland, which will help the charity fund a Senior Services Officer to help deliver information and support to people with bowel cancer living in the country. The year-long partnership will also raise awareness of bowel cancer symptoms and the importance of taking part in bowel cancer screening to the Rangers family of fans, players and staff. We're also encouraging those who have been affected by bowel cancer, either personally or via a family member, to come forward and share their experience to create a special 'stories' wall.