Nearly two years ago Bowel Cancer UK launched the Never Too Young campaign to increase early diagnosis and improve treatment and support for people diagnosed with bowel cancer under the age of 50. Central to that work was a survey which helped understand the experiences of younger people with bowel cancer. Some of the campaign successes so far include:
- Securing funding from the Department of Health for a study at the University of Exeter to support GPs in identifying possible bowel cancer in younger people;
- Guidance on bowel cancer in people under 50 being included for the first time in the new draft NICE guideline on referral for suspect cancer;
- A quicker referral pathway for younger patients in Scotland being put into place;
- Development of a new range of information specifically for younger bowel cancer patients to be launched soon;
- Increasing interest and debate about bowel cancer in younger patients in the NHS (including amongst commissioners), academics and policy makers.
- Lynch syndrome testing to be rolled out at diagnosis for all under 50 patients.
- A working group to be set up by Public Health England to look at surveillance screening of high risk groups including those with Lynch syndrome who often present under 50. Progress is being made but clearly there is a long way to go. Therefore in order to keep building the campaign, Bowel Cancer UK have just launched a new survey looking at what has changed for younger people with bowel cancer over the last two years.