Never Too Young
Never Too Young is leading the change for younger bowel cancer patients. The campaign is giving younger patients a voice and changing clinical practice and policy to stop people dying of bowel cancer under 50.
Every year over 2,500 younger people are diagnosed with bowel cancer in the UK. While this is only around six per cent of those diagnosed, this number is slowly increasing. Our research shows that younger bowel cancer patients have a very different experience of diagnosis, treatment and care. Read our latest report.
What are the issues?
- Delays in diagnosis - younger patients report having to see their GP many times, sometimes more than five times, before being referred for crucial diagnostic tests.
- Access to genetic testing – patients diagnosed with bowel cancer should be tested for Lynch syndrome, a genetic condition that increases the risk of bowel cancer at a younger age. Yet many are still not being tested and access to regular colonoscopy, which can reduce the chance of dying from bowel cancer by 72% in people at high risk, is patchy across the UK. Find out more about our work on Lynch syndrome
- A lack of awareness - many younger people and healthcare professionals are not aware of the symptoms of bowel cancer, and are not aware of bowel cancer as a disease younger people can develop. This has led to delays in seeking help from a GP and delays in being referred for tests.
What are we calling for?
- Improved clinical guidance and practice on bowel cancer in younger people
- Improved identification of people with genetic conditions and access to regular colonoscopy
- Improved information for younger people on bowel cancer symptoms
What have we achieved so far?
Since we launched the Never Too Young campaign in 2013, we have made much progress. This includes:
- Changing GP referral guidelines to include younger people for the first time
- Publishing research and a risk assessment tool that will help GPs better identify bowel cancer in younger patients
- Influencing the introduction of NICE guidelines recommending all bowel cancer patients are tested for Lynch syndrome
- Publishing a guide on 'Younger people with bowel cancer: a guide for the under 50s'
How can you get involved?
- Find out if your hospital is testing for Lynch syndrome. Every hospital across the UK should test all bowel cancer patients for Lynch syndrome at the point of cancer diagnosis. Take action and make this a reality.
- Become a campaign supporter and help lead change for younger people
- Share your story. If you've been diagnosed with bowel cancer at a young age we want to hear from you