‘UK must follow Scotland’s lead on bowel cancer’

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Richard and Sarah Haugh from Laurencekirk are backing charity Beating Bowel Cancer’s call to have the bowel cancer screening age equalised throughout the UK.

Richard said: “If the screening age was reduced from 60 to 50 in England, Wales and Northern Ireland to bring it in line with Scotland, thousands of bowel cancer patients each year would have the opportunity of being diagnosed at an earlier stage.”

Beating Bowel Cancer explains that if the bowel screening age was equalised throughout the UK, over 4,000 patients a year in their 50s would be given the chance of being diagnosed early (at stage 1) which offers a 97% survival rate. Without screening the majority of these patients will not be diagnosed until a later stage through their GP or A&E.

At a later stage the cancer is more difficult to treat successfully and their odds of survival could be reduced to as little as 7%.

Statistics show you are far more likely to be diagnosed at stage 1 through screening than through referral from the GP or through A&E.

Richard and Sarah have a very personal reason for supporting this cause because Richard was diagnosed with bowel cancer through screening at the age of 50.

Sarah said: “The screening test must be reduced to 50 across the UK because if we didn’t live in Scotland, my husband would not have had the screening test at age 50 and his cancer would have developed unnoticed from Stage 3 to Stage 4. The thought of that is indescribable”

Director of Services at Beating Bowel Cancer, Judith Brodie, says: “Bowel cancer is the UK’s second biggest cancer killer and it’s time we changed the odds for patients in their 50s in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. Scotland have got it right and it’s shocking that the patients in the rest of the UK are being so badly let down”.

“With the increase in the ageing population, there is no excuse for allowing this inequality to carry on.”

You can support Beating Bowel Cancer’s campaign at www.beatingbowelcancer.org