Beating bowel cancer together

Campaign victories

Together with bowel cancer patients, clinicians and thousands of supporters we’re achieving real change. By tweeting, signing an e-petition, writings emails and letters, or meeting with your local MP, 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. In April 2018, we supported Lauren Backler to hand in her petition signed by half a million people to the then Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, Jeremy Hunt MP, calling for this change. Screening is the best way to diagnose bowel cancer early, when it is treatable and curable.

Success: We did it! Thanks to our amazing campaigners, it was announced that the screening age in England and Wales will be lowered from 60 to 50. Every year around 4,500 people are diagnosed with bowel cancer aged 50-59 and just over 1,200 die from the disease in this age group. The introduction of screening from 50 will help to save so many lives.

Tackling the endoscopy crisis in Scotland

In May 2018, we highlighted that nearly 5,000 people in Scotland are waiting more than six weeks for tests that can diagnose bowel cancer, with two thirds of Scottish Health Boards in breach of the waiting time target. We called for a national endoscopy action plan and leadership to tackle the growing endoscopy crisis in Scotland. Our campaign supporters joined us by tweeting at the then Health Secretary, Shona Robison MSP, to make sure there are enough NHS staff to carry out this life-saving test, so patients aren’t kept waiting.

Success: Just a month after sharing these shocking waiting times statistics, the Health Secretary announced they would develop a National Endoscopy Action Plan, with total funding of £14 million, to ensure that those who have been waiting longer than six weeks are seen as a matter of urgency. Read moe about it here.

Right Test, Right Time

Scotland is 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 current screening test. This test must be introduced across the UK.

Success: At a debate on bowel cancer screening secured by one of our very own bowel cancer champions, the Minister for Cancer publicly committed to rolling out FIT this autumn in England.

 

Never Too Young

We know that younger bowel cancer patients have a very different experience of diagnosis, treatment and care. Our campaign is giving 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.

 

Time to Test for Lynch syndrome

We want everyone diagnosed with bowel cancer tested for Lynch syndrome, a genetic condition that dramatically increases the risk bowel cancer in all age groups.

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. Find out if your local hospital is testing.

 

Putting bowel cancer on the political agenda

Following last year’s General Election, hundreds of our campaigners contacted their MP to ask if they would become a bowel cancer champion to help drive bowel cancer up the political agenda.

Success: Thanks to our amazing campaigners, we now have over 50 bowel cancer champions in Parliament helping us push for life-saving changes in the way we diagnose and treat bowel cancer. Find out if your MP is a Bowel Cancer Champion.

 

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