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Bowel Cancer UK have been working tirelessly over the past year to help raise awareness of bowel cancer amongst younger people.
As many of the symptoms of bowel cancer are often embarrassing and stigmatised, many people avoid consulting someone about their worries and symptoms until the condition has
advanced much further. Bowel Cancer UK launched their ‘Never Too Young’ campaign in 2013 in a bid to make younger people more aware of the condition and its signs so it becomes more easily recognisable throughout the public, eventually improving the diagnosis rate of bowel cancer in those under 50.
As a result of this campaign, the Department of Health has awarded the University of Exeter, on behalf of Bowel Cancer UK, research funding in order to develop a new clinical diagnosis tool aimed at speeding up the diagnosis of bowel cancer in patients.
Research conducted for the ‘Never Too Young’ campaign found that there were significant delays in diagnosis for people under 50 who were experiencing some of the symptoms that bowel cancer presents. It took some patients up to four or five visits to the GP before they were eventually referred to a specialist.
Public Health minister Jane Ellison said, “We want to lead the world in terms of cancer care and making sure we support valuable new research is a key part of this… The earlier bowel cancer is diagnosed, generally the more treatable it is. However, bowel cancer is rare in younger people so it is more difficult for GPs to know when to refer. This new research could play an important part in helping GPs make that important decision on referral.”
The UK bowel cancer diagnosis and survival rates lag far behind their European counterparts, and doctors hope that this new funding will help patients become diagnosed quicker, and therefore become more likely to survive, which is really great news for bowel cancer sufferers.