Never Too Young
Never Too Young is leading change for younger bowel cancer patients. The campaign is giving younger patients a voice and changing clinical practice and policy to stop bowel cancer in people under 50.
Every year 2,500 younger people are diagnosed with bowel cancer in the UK. While this is only around five per cent of those diagnosed, this number is slowly increasing. Our research has shown that younger bowel cancer patients have a very different experience of diagnosis, treatment and care.
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 developing bowel cancer. This increase in risk means people can develop cancer at a younger age. Yet many are still not being tested and access to regular colonoscopy , which can help to prevent bowel cancer and diagnose it early, in people at high risk is patchy across the UK. Find out more about our work on Lynch syndrome
- A lack of awareness - the majority of younger patients were not aware of the symptoms of bowel cancer, and were not aware of bowel cancer as a disease younger people could get. This has led to delays in going to the GP to seek help.
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 surveillance screening
- 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
- Leading a global Never Too Young coalition
- New NICE guidelines, which recommends testing everyone with bowel cancer for genetic condition, Lynch syndrome
- Developed and published a guide on 'Younger people with bowel cancer: a guide for the under 50s'
How can you get involved?
- Sign our petition calling on UK health ministers to step in and take responsibility for people with Lynch syndrome and their families
- 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
- Share your picture on social media. Print off this template and write the age you were at diagnosis. Tweet us at @Bowel_Cancer_UK