Today is World Cancer Day and this year’s campaign asks what ‘We Can’ as a collective, or ‘I Can’ as an individual, do to help raise awareness and join the fight against cancer.
Beating Bowel Cancer is taking the opportunity today to highlight some of the things that the charity can do to help beat the UK’s second biggest cancer killer:
We can challenge the taboo surrounding the disease.
We can be supportive of patients and their friends and families.
We can shape policy change to benefit bowel cancer patients.
The media reports today that a study in the British Journal of Cancer says almost 40,000 extra people would undergo bowel cancer screening every year in England if their GP explicitly endorsed it.
The study showed that people were more likely to complete the test if the letter said their own GP practice backed the cancer screening programme.
Yesterday bowel cancer survivors and their families, Members of Parliament, Peers and health professionals gathered for Beating Bowel Cancer’s Parliamentary Reception at the House of Commons to hear how early diagnosis of the disease can increase survival rates.
Mark Flannagan, Chief Executive of Beating Bowel Cancer, said: “This event made it possible for us to share our plans and outline the key policy priorities that need to be realised in this Parliament if bowel cancer survival rates are to improve.
According to new figures released by Cancer Research UK and Public Health England's National Cancer Intelligence Network today, bowel cancer is more likely to be diagnosed at the earliest stage if it is picked up by screening.
For the first time, data shows the stage at which cancer is detected by the different routes to diagnosis - through screening, by a GP referral, or as an emergency.
Of the cases picked up by bowel screening (where the stage at diagnosis was known), 37% were caught at stage one, while only 8% were stage four.
Today the UK National Screening Committee recommended that the Faecal Immunochemical Testing (FIT) for bowel cancer should be rolled out across England over the next two years.
The committee recommended that replacing the current guaiac faecal occult blood test (gFOBt) with FIT provides the opportunity to detect and prevent more cancers and is easier to use.
The Chief Medical Officer today published new advice on alcohol consumption, which significantly reduces the recommended weekly amounts from twenty-one to fourteen units a week - bringing the limit for men in line with women- and warns that drinking any alcohol at all raises the risk of cancer.
A medicine that is used to treat people with advanced bowel cancer will be made routinely available on the NHS in Wales.
In an announcement today by the Health Minister for Wales, Mark Drakeford, the drug known as Cetuximab, will be an option for the first-line treatment of patients with certain types of bowel cancer.
Commenting on the decision bythe All Wales Medicines Strategy Group to approve the use of Cetuximab (Erbitux) on NHS in Wales, Mark Flannagan, our Chief Executive, said:
Beating Bowel Cancer’s office and nurse helpline will be closed from 5.30pm on Wednesday 23 December and will reopen at 9am on Monday 4 January.
If you need support over the festive period you can visit our online forum where you can talk to other people affected by bowel cancer.
Our ‘Talk to the Beating Bowel Cancer Nurses’ section of the forum will be monitored periodically.
A report out today has shown that the number of people surviving bowel cancer following major surgery has increased in recent years.
Today the Scottish Government has announced a pilot scheme to help improve the early detection of bowel cancer.
The pilot will make a new type of test, called Quantitative FIT (qFIT), available to patients who visit their GP with bowel cancer symptoms. It is being trialled at GP practices in NHS Tayside.
The qFIT test uses a poo sample to test whether the person has blood in their poo, which can be a sign of bowel cancer. If blood is undetectable, this could rule out the need for a colonoscopy, a diagnostic procedure involving a small camera.