Together with bowel cancer patients, clinicians and thousands of supporters we're achieving real change to cancer policy and legislation to improve the diagnosis, treatment and care for everyone effected by bowel cancer. By tweeting, signing an e-petition, writings emails and letters, or meeting with your local politician, you've helped us to accomplish great things for people affected by bowel cancer.
Here are just some success stories.
Screening from 50
We campaigned strongly for the bowel cancer screening age to be lowered to 50, in line with Scotland and the rest of the world. We supported Lauren Backler to hand in her petition signed by half a million people to the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care calling for this change. Screening is the best way to diagnose bowel cancer early, when it's treatable and curable.
Success: We did it! Thanks to our amazing campaigners, it was announced that the screening age in England and Wales would be lowered from 60 to 50. Every year in the UK around 5,000 people are diagnosed with bowel cancer aged 50-59 and just over 1,300 die from the disease in this age group. The introduction of screening from 50 will help to save so many lives.
Success: In 2022, bowel cancer screening was made available to more people in England and Wales, with home testing now expanded to include people from age 55 in Wales and from age 58 in England. This is part of a phased approach to lower the screening age to 50.
Right Test, Right Time
In 2018, Scotland was the only UK nation to introduce the more accurate faecal immunochemical test (FIT) into its screening programme. FIT is vital for improving the chance of an early diagnosis as it can detect more early stage cancers than the screening test used in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. We worked to introduce this test across the UK.
Success: We're delighted that the new screening test (FIT) has been rolled out in England and Wales for people aged 60-74. The introduction of this test has successfully increased uptake of screening in both nations.
Never Too Young
We know that younger bowel cancer patients have a very different experience of diagnosis, treatment and care. Our campaign gives younger patients a voice, as well as changing clinical practice and policy to help stop people under 50 dying of bowel cancer.
Success: Together we changed the guidance given to GPs on referring patients to include vital information on identifying young people with symptoms that could be caused by cancer for the first time. This will help save lives.
Success: We successfully influenced the introduction of NICE guidelines recommending all bowel cancer patients be tested for Lynch syndrome at the point of their diagnosis. This is extremely important, as the condition can affect treatment options and informs family members of their potential risk.
Success: Never Too Young is now a College of GPs global campaign and has been adopted by organisations in the USA, Australia, New Zealand and Canada.
Time to Test for Lynch syndrome
We want everyone diagnosed with bowel cancer tested for Lynch syndrome, a genetic condition that dramatically increases the life-time risk of bowel cancer. We launched our Time to Test campaign calling for this change across the UK.
Success: Thanks to the backing of our supporters and clinicians, we now have new guidance that recommends everyone diagnosed with bowel cancer is tested for Lynch syndrome at the time of diagnosis. We're working tirelessly to make sure testing is taking place in every hospital.
Success: After years of campaigning, we're thrilled that Wales have committed to a national system of testing all bowel cancer patients for Lynch syndrome in line with clinical guidelines. This comes a year after we published our Time to Test report, which found that in Wales no health boards were testing.