Every year, more than 2,100 people under 50 are diagnosed with bowel cancer in the UK. At Bowel Cancer UK, we hear from younger bowel cancer patients who express frustration at the difficulty and delays in getting a diagnosis. They often feel as if they are the only young person diagnosed with bowel cancer, and find it difficult to find information and support specifically for younger bowel cancer patients.
We have launched the #never2young campaign because we want to ensure that younger bowel cancer patients are diagnosed quickly and receive the support they need wherever they live in the UK.
The difficulties facing younger bowel cancer patients are serious, yet they are solvable. We are calling on governments in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland to ensure that the following recommendations from our ‘Never Too Young’ report are implemented:
• Establish a registry of younger bowel cancer patients in the UK to allow further research about the epidemiology of cancer in this group of people so we can identify and target those at risk better in the future.
• Revise clinical guidance to ensure that people under 50 with symptoms, or at high risk of bowel cancer, get appropriate tests to rule out bowel cancer first not last.
• Develop a bowel cancer decision aid tool to support GPs in making informed decisions about who to refer for diagnostic tests and enable them to use it.
• Ensure screening is in place for families at high risk (e.g. due to genetic conditions, where there is a strong family history of the disease or someone has an inflammatory bowel condition).
• Ensure that all younger patients are genetically tested.
We believe that implementing these recommendations will enable us to make real progress in saving lives from bowel cancer.
Please sign our petition asking Prime Minister David Cameron to meet Bowel Cancer UK and families/representatives of younger bowel cancer patients to discuss these recommendations and ensure that the lives of younger people are not unnecessarily lost to bowel cancer.