We're campaigning to improve access to treatment and quality of life for those diagnosed with advanced bowel cancer. This is when the cancer has spread to somewhere else in the body, such as the liver or lungs. Around 10,000 people in the UK are diagnosed at the latest stage of the disease each year. People with advanced bowel cancer typically have poorer survival rates but access to surgery and drugs can help to extend life.
What are the issues?
- Survival rates for advanced bowel cancer are poor. Less than one in ten of those diagnosed at the latest stage of bowel cancer survive, compared with nearly everyone diagnosed at the earliest stage. We need to maximise opportunities for an early diagnosis when survival rates are better
- Lack of access to the right treatment and care. The current "one-size fits all" approach to treatment and care for those diagnosed with advanced bowel cancer is not working and needs to change to improve survival rates. Many patients are not being referred for life-saving surgery or struggle to get access to drugs that have been shown to be effective. This includes access to liver and lung specialists
- Consequences of treatment. Patients under-going treatments for advanced bowel cancer experience a range of side-effects which significantly impact their quality of life – both physically and emotionally. Unfortunately, patients don't often get access to the treatment and support to alleviate these side-effects
What are we campaigning for?
- New models of care and interventions to reduce the proportion of people diagnosed at the late stage of the disease and help ensure more people are diagnosed at the earlier stages when bowel cancer is more treatable and chance of survival is high
- A personalised approach to treatment and care to ensure advanced bowel cancer patients have access to the full range of treatment that is right for them – from access to genetic testing at diagnosis and specialist surgery through to ongoing treatment, care and support
- Advanced multi-disciplinary regional teams to ensure specialists such as liver and lung surgeons are consulted prior to treatment decisions. Advanced MDTs are recognised as the best means for undertaking effective treatment decisions for advanced bowel cancer patients
What have we done so far?
- Published our Get Personal policy report. Our latest policy report, based on a comprehensive patient experience survey of advanced bowel cancer patients, sets out what improvements need to be made to improve the survival, treatment and care of advanced bowel cancer patients. Read our report
- Leading change as part of an international coalition. In 2017 we co-chaired a global coalition of charities, to improve survival rates for advanced bowel cancer in the UK and across the world
- Work with cancer charities across the UK to improve access to medicines and care for those diagnosed with advanced bowel cancer
- Influencing the approval of new drugs on the NHS. We worked to ensure people with advanced bowel cancer were able to gain access to new treatment combination on the NHS