Our work in Wales
Bowel cancer is the fourth most common cancer in Wales. Every year more than 2,200 people are diagnosed with bowel cancer in Wales and over 900 people die from the disease. However bowel cancer is treatable and curable especially if diagnosed early.
We undertake a range of activities in Wales as part of our work to save lives and improve the quality of life for all those affected by bowel cancer.
We raise awareness
Volunteers in Wales who have been affected by bowel cancer, deliver talks in workplaces to help people understand the signs and symptoms and risk factors of bowel cancer. If you would like to book a workplace talk, please do so here.
We are always on the look out for people to join the team by becoming an awareness volunteer. If you live in Wales and are interested in this role, click here.
We provide information
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. Out booklets and factsheets are used by most 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, please follow this link.
For those who would like to chat with other people who have experienced bowel cancer, please do visit our Online Community. Ouronline community is a place for anyone affected by bowel cancer to talk about their experiences, share their knowledge and support each other.
We train healthcare professionals
We deliver bowel health and screening training for those who want to promote awareness, good bowel health and the importance of screening in their community or profession. Our training can be tailored to the groups needs and is free of charge. Find out more here
Our campaigning and policy work covers issues affecting people right across the UK and we include the experience of people in Wales in all our work.
Our campaign ‘Right test, Right time’ highlights the challenges facing endoscopy services across the UK and in 2018, we launched a Spotlight on Wales report focussing specifically on the challenges that exist around early diagnosis in Wales. Our report, which received excellent media coverage, showed us that Wales has some of the poorest outcomes for bowel cancer across Europe and that the Welsh Government and the NHS in Wales must urgently review the way diagnostic services are delivered.
Since the report launch, we have worked with the Wales Cancer Network to establish as Bowel Cancer Initiative and have supported the recruitment of a clinical lead post. This post will work to provide leadership and oversight of all the various work strands which the NHS is delivering to improve bowel cancer outcomes in Wales. By championing bowel cancer in the clinical community and providing strategic direction and guidance the Bowel Cancer Initiative will drive up standards of care and deliver improved outcomes for all those affected by the disease.
In 2018, our 'Time to Test' campaigning work in Wales which focusses on Lynch Syndrome showed that none of the seven health boards in Wales were delivering universal testing for Lynch Syndrome as recommended by NICE. These guidelines state that everyone who is diagnosed with bowel cancer should be tested for this genetic condition which makes individuals more likely to get the disease. At the time, we campaigned in the media, wrote to the Chief Medical Officer in Wales for assurance that this would be addressed.
In April 2019, we celebrated a campaign win! Following a collaborative effort by colleagues at the All Wales Medical Genetic Service , the Wales Cancer Network and ourselves, Senior leaders in NHS Wales committed to funding and supporting a new all Wales service which means, from June 2019, every health board in Wales will follow NICE guidelines to test ALL bowel cancer patients for Lynch syndrome. Read more about this story here (add link to here to the press story that Fran is going to publish on the 4th April)
Issues around endoscopy waiting times, Lynch Syndrome and the introduction of a new screening test called a faecal immunochemical test (FIT) were some of the main issues raised during a recent debate at the National Assembly for Wales where several Assembly Members spoke in support of our Spotlight on Wales report and the need to improve services across all Health Boards in Wales. The Cabinet Secretary for Health gave a comprehensive response to the issues debated and reassurance that challenges around Wales’ diagnostic services, the roll out of FIT and also Lynch Syndrome were very much in hand. Read about the debate, Assembly Members support and watch it back here.
With your support, we can achieve so much more! With help from our campaigners we have secured universal lynch syndrome testing for ALL bowel cancer patients in Wales; our supporters have provided evidence to the Assembly Health Committee to put pressure on the Welsh Government and the NHS to take steps to solve the crisis in our endoscopy services and alongside the wonderful supporters in England, our Wales campaigners helped to secure agreement from the Welsh Government to lower the screening age for screening from 60 to 50. You too can help make a difference, please sign up here.
We work with others
At Bowel Cancer UK we love to collaborate and work with others to improve outcomes for people with cancer and are involved in a number of groups, Alliances and Boards which means we can bring all the evidence we have to bear upon bowel and wider cancer policy development in Wales.
We have representations on a number of for a including:
- Bowel Screening Wales' FIT Implementation Board
- Wales Cancer Alliance
- Cancer Implementation Group (CIG) sub group on Detecting Cancer Early
- CIG Detecting Cancer Early sub group on screening
- Welsh Government’s Endoscopy Implementation Group
- Health and Care Research Wales Public Involvement Delivery Board
For more information and to feed in any issues through these groups please contact our Lowri Griffiths, our Head of Wales Lowri.firstname.lastname@example.org
We encourage people to take part in the screening programme
In Wales the bowel cancer screening programme is available to all 60-74 year olds.
What does the screening test look for?
- The screening test looks for hidden blood in your poo.
- Blood in your poo can be a sign of bowel cancer or of other changes such as polyps (small growths).
- Most polyps are harmless but some can lead to bowel cancer. Most polyps can be easily removed.
- Sometimes the blood can be there because a polyp has bled.
- There may also be other reasons for the blood, such as haemorrhoids (piles) or small tears in the bowel.
- The test kit does not tell you if you have bowel cancer. The results will tell you if you need further tests such as a colonoscopy (a camera inserted into your bottom).
The uptake rate in Wales is currently 55% 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. If you would like to order a replacement test kit, you can easily do this. Just click here.
Our awareness talks encourage people to take part in screening by talking to them about the benefits and explaining how to do the test. Book one of our talks here. If you would like to speak to someone from the screening programme, they would be glad to hear from you. Find out more about bowel screening in Wales.
We are determined to save lives from bowel cancer but we can’t do this without you. There are lots of ways you can support us in Wales and help us to stop bowel cancer.
Our supporters and volunteers make change happen. Every bake sale, run, corporate partnership, awareness talk and donation brings us a step closer to stopping bowel cancer.
We are working hard with researchers across the UK. We are campaigning at the heart of Welsh Government. We support patients and their families, and we are educating people about bowel cancer.
We are always looking for people to join us by helping us make change happen. Please take a look at the ways you can support us by clicking here. Thank you / Diolch
Our team in Wales:
Lowri Griffiths, Head of Wales
“Every time I speak to patients and their families I am inspired by their stories and motivated to make sure that people receive the best possible services that are on offer. There is lot of work to do to make sure that everyone gets the best outcome following diagnosis and I feel privileged to be in a position to help that happen!.”
Mike Locke, Fundraising Manager
“The fact that Wales is benchmarked in Europe for its poor bowel cancer survival rates is simply not good enough! I am proud to be in a position to help fundraise and support research and life saving work for the people of Wales!”