Tuesday 4th July 2017

Bowel Cancer West seeks to improve outcomes for young people with bowel cancer

Local charity Bowel Cancer West (BCW) is looking to fund a vital research project to improve detection and treatment outcomes for young people with colorectal (bowel) cancer across the South West.

BCW aims to raise £10,000 to fund the research by a group of local medical and engineering professionals to assess the latest technology that can be used to make a direct impact on survival rates of the disease, decrease post-operative complication rates and improve post-operative quality of life, particularly among young adults under 40 years old.

West Country TV personality Thom Hunt explained the potential benefits to young people of the research proposed by BCW: “As someone who experienced bowel cancer at the age of 27, this is such an important campaign for BCW to be leading on. More and more young people are being diagnosed who need to be made aware not only of the symptoms, but the expert support that’s available if it does happen.

“I think many young people get diagnosed and have no idea what to do. I encourage individuals and local businesses to club together and get this campaign off the ground so more young people can go on and enjoy an amazing life as I am now doing.”

Young patients diagnosed with colorectal cancer more often present an advanced stage of the disease, requiring major surgery which can lead to worse treatment outcomes along with a higher chance of the cancer reoccurring. Long term impacts can often include a patient requiring a colostomy bag for the rest of their life which can be devastating for a young person wanting to live an action-packed life.

Speaking on behalf of the BCW Research Committee, Colorectal Surgeon Sebastian Smolarek said:

“Recent advances in medical technologies can make a big difference and it’s about recognising what’s out there and making the most of that technology. For example, tests that can help recognise cancer in early stages, such as a breath test, assessing new treatment options through 3D printing or technology to reduce post-operative complication rates and improve post-operative quality of life which is so important for any young person wanting to live a normal life after surgery.”

The fourth most common form of cancer in the United Kingdom but the second biggest cause of cancer death, colorectal cancer is becoming more common in younger people. Currently, young adults under 40 years old represent four percent of the bowel cancer population but rates are rising and getting a diagnosis early is essential for successful treatment.

As well as seeking donations from the public and local businesses, BCW is inviting people to sign up to one of their summer events such as the Bristol Grand Prix Cycle road race on 19 August 2017, The BCW Cycle Challenge from Plymouth to Ilfracombe on 2 September 2017 or the Plymouth 10K run on the 8th of October to help them achieve their goal. They are also inviting people to fundraise for them in their own way by signing up to other local challenges or through other imaginative fundraising methods such as office bake-sales, pub quizzes or second hand clothes sales.

BCW is a regional charity that funds research, training for health professionals and raising awareness of symptoms and screening associated with the disease. It relies largely on voluntary support and 84 per-cent of its income in the previous two years has been invested in its charitable aims.

To help BCW, please get in touch to find out how you can help or consider making a small donation by clicking this link 

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