Roll out FIT screening tests & lower the age of bowel cancer screening to 50 in England.

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Just over 2 months ago, our mum, Cheryl Kellett, was diagnosed with a rare aggressive form of bowel cancer. She was 52 at the time.

At 51, she went to the GP as she had some pain in her body, however this was diagnosed as muscular pain. A few months after her 52nd birthday, she was admitted to hospital with a bowel cancer diagnosis. We were told soon after that the cancer was terminal and she had 2-3 months left to live. She started 1 round of chemotherapy soon after diagnosis, but it was unfortunately too little, too late and she sadly passed on the 1st of February 2021.

Screening for bowel cancer is available on the NHS, but only from the age of 60. However, in Scotland they start screening from the age of 50. Which means if we lived in Scotland, Mum would have been eligible for screening, and would have been screened twice before being diagnosed. This would have increased her chance of being diagnosed earlier and increasing her chance of survival.

I was inspired to start this petition by a campaign started by Lauren Backler, who petitioned to lower the bowel screening age to 50 in the UK. Her petition won in the summer of 2018, but as of yet has seen no date as to when screening at 50 will be a reality.

Extract taken from the petition - “Screening isn’t foolproof, but Bowel Cancer is the second biggest cancer killer in the UK and if caught in its earliest stages it’s curable. Cancer research published earlier this year found that if bowel cancer is caught in its earliest stages, there is a 97% chance of surviving 5 years. But if the cancer is caught in its later stages there is a 7% chance of survival. From figures I have found through research, I've estimated that up to 6,000 people a year are being diagnosed with bowel cancer in their 50's. Considering they have had no screening available to them at all, I wonder how many of those like my mum are being diagnosed too late.”

A complete rollout of the new more sensitive FIT screening test continues to be delayed, and until this happens, screening at 50 has no chance of happening. So we need to keep the pressure up on Parliament. 

Although this petition can not change what’s happened to our Mum, by raising awareness and fighting for this change we hope this change can spare the heartbreak and grief for at least one family. 

Thank you,

Georgia, Hannah and Joe - Cheryl's children.